Scotland business

Profits jump for whisky maker Diageo

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Media captionChief Executive Ivan Menezes says he is pleased with the numbers and excited by emerging markets

The world's biggest distiller of Scotch whisky, Diageo, has reported an 8% rise in annual profits driven partly by US spirits sales.

Pre-tax profit for the year to the end of June was £3.5bn compared with £3.2bn in 2012. Sales rose 5% to £11.4bn

Diageo makes Johnnie Walker whisky as well the Guinness, Smirnoff and Baileys brands.

The company said performance was strong in North America with net sales up 5% and operating profit up 9%.

Sales in Latin America and the Caribbean were up 15% and profits increased by 26%.

Chief Executive Ivan Menezes, said: "These results reflect Diageo's strengths. We have delivered 5% net sales growth reflecting the strength of our US spirits business and continued double digit growth in the emerging markets, despite weakness in some markets.

"Price increases in each region, positive mix in North America and Latin America and the rigour we have in managing our cost of production and controlling our overheads drove significant expansion in operating margin."

The company said for the first time the Johnnie Walker brand sold 20 million cases, double what it sold ten years ago, making it the most important spirit brand in the world by value. The company's single malt business grew 17% over the year.

However, sales in Western Europe fell by 3% with a 7% drop in profits with most brands affected. Guinness recorded a 5% fall in sales in Ireland.

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