Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh (pictured), said on the six months ended December 31, 2011: “Diageo has delivered a solid and well balanced first half performance with 9% operating profit growth and 60 basis points of operating margin expansion.
“This is the result of the investments we have made to build our brands, deepen our routes to market in the faster growing markets of the world, enhance our leadership in US spirits and create an integrated organisation in western Europe,” said Walsh.
“Our emerging market business grew net sales 18% and operating profit 23% and now accounts for almost 40% of our business. “Globally Johnnie Walker grew 15%, Smirnoff returned to growth, Guinness grew 5% and our reserve brand portfolio grew 25%. Our strategic brands grew 8% and the strongest performing categories were scotch, up 14% and vodka, up 13% while our beer brands delivered 7% organic net sales growth.
“We are cautious as to the consumer and economic trends we will face in 2012 but these first half results have positioned us well and they have demonstrated that Diageo has the brands, the routes to market and the people to deliver our medium term guidance. The increase of 7% in the interim dividend signals our confidence that we are making a strong business stronger," said the Diageo CEO.