Diageo half-year profits rise 15% on emerging markets

Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh: "Our growth is set to continue"

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Drinks group Diageo has reported a rise in half-year profits as demand for its global brands continues to grow in emerging markets.

Pre-tax profits were £1.86bn ($2.95bn) for the six months to 31 December, up 15% on the same period a year earlier.

Diageo, whose brands include Guinness, Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker, has had a long-term strategy of building sales and profits in fast-growing economies.

Sales in these regions now account for 40% of Diageo's total business.

Chief executive Paul Walsh said the group saw strong growth of 18% across its emerging markets in the last six months of 2011.

That helped to offset European sales, which were depressed by poor trading in eurozone nations such as Spain, Greece and the Irish Republic.

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