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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 August 2006, 19:45 GMT 20:45 UK
Diageo to keep pouring Guinness
Pint of Guinness
Diageo is facing challenges in the Irish beer market
Drinks giant Diageo says it has no plans to sell off its Guinness brand, despite a drop in sales in the drink's homeland of the Irish Republic.

It came as the firm revealed annual pre-tax profits of 2.1bn in the year to 30 June, up from 1.9bn a year ago.

The world's biggest alcoholic drinks group also owns Smirnoff vodka, Johnnie Walker whisky and Baileys liquor.

"We have no plans to sell Guinness. In the UK it is doing very well," Diageo boss Paul Walsh told the BBC.

Investors disappointed

Mr Walsh said that Guinness retained a high profile in the UK, thanks to its advertising campaigns and sponsorship of rugby union.

"Guinness has helped drive market share gains," he added.

But the Diageo results statement said challenges in the Irish beer market had "adversely impacted" on growth in Europe, with Guinness sales in Ireland down 3% over the year.

Shares in Diageo ended down 2.5% after Thursday trading after market hopes that the group might raise targets for the current year were not realised.

Diageo said operating profit would increase by "at least" 7% in its current financial year, but investors had been looking for more.

Total sales increased by 8% to 9.7bn during the year, helped by a strong performance in the US and Canada.




SEE ALSO
Diageo to cover pension arrears
27 Mar 06 |  Business
Diageo toasts strong sales in US
16 Feb 06 |  Business

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