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Guinness sales up as Diageo records 32 per cent rise in profits

Emerging markets boost sales at drinks group as Irish market declines.

DIAGEO HAS REPORTED pre-tax profits of £3.1 billion (€3.97 billion) for the first six months of 2012, as emerging markets and a pick up in spirit sales lifted fortunes at the drinks group.

The company, which makes Guinness and Johnnie Walker whisky, said that Asia, Africa and South America were all offsetting sluggish growth in Europe.  Operating profits in Asia, Africa and South America rose 18 per cent, 20 per cent, and 22 per cent respectively with Nigeria now the biggest market for Guinness by net sales. It increased its dividend to shareholders by 8 per cent to 26.9p a share on the news.

“Diageo (DGE) has delivered on its promises today,” Martin Deboo, an analyst at Investec Securities, said in a note. “The 8 percent increase in dividend reads encouragingly, and chimes with CEO Paul Walsh’s confidence that the business is very much on track to deliver against medium-term guidance.”

Meanwhile in Ireland, the total alcoholic drinks market fell by 1.2 per cent in value in the 12 months to June.

Guinness, which makes up 52 per cent of Diageo’s world beer business by net sales, continues to be the best selling beer in Ireland with a 32 per cent market share.

Diageo said the Guinness brand delivered 2 per cent net sales growth in developed markets.

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