Page last updated at 08:54 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 09:54 UK

Sales drop for drinks firm Diageo

whisky bottles
Diageo's sales have fallen sharply in the Russian market

Drinks giant Diageo has announced sales were down 7% in the three months to the end of March.

The company, which has its headquarters in Edinburgh, said markets around the world had weakened, with sales sharply down in Russia.

Diageo, whose brands include Guinness, Smirnoff Vodka and Johnnie Walker whisky, said the fall was also down to planned stock reductions in the US.

The company said it was still on track to raise profits by 4% to 6% this year.

Paul Walsh, Chief Executive of Diageo said restructuring meant the company would emerge from the global downturn "as an even stronger business".

Diageo announced a cost-saving programme when it reported an increase in profits in February.

Production has been cut and a packaging plant in Kilmarnock was closed for a period of two weeks to save money.

Diageo said it had continued to invest in the business. Work has started on a £65m green energy plant in Fife.

A new distillery at Roseisle in Speyside is due to open in a few months time, part of a £100m investment.

Diageo employs 4,500 in Scotland. It owns 27 malt distilleries as well as the Gleneagles Hotel.

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