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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 June 2007, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
Whisky strength boost for Diageo
Men studying whisky bottles at an exhibition in Bangkok
Diageo has ridden the wave of global demand for whisky
Strong demand for scotch whisky in the US and Latin America has boosted trading at UK drinks firm Diageo, whose brands include Johnnie Walker.

Whisky brands remained the "key driver" of its global growth, Diageo said, while adding that Guinness continued to perform strongly in Africa.

European trade has been tougher, with the alcopop market in decline.

Diageo reiterated earlier forecasts of 8% profit growth this year but said the weak dollar would cost it 80m.

The US remains the firm's most important market, making exchange rate movements important to its business.

Brand strength

Diageo has benefited from resurgent global demand for whisky and recently announced plans to invest 100m in modernising its distilleries.

The firm will report its full-year profits at the end of August.

The strength of our brands continue to drive growth
Paul Walsh, Diageo chief executive

The firm will report its full-year profits at the end of August, but in a market update Diageo said it had outperformed the market in the US this year and had also seen strong growth in Latin America and Africa.

It added that trading had improved in Europe and Asia in the second half of the year following higher marketing expenditure.

Chief executive Paul Walsh said the performance reflected the strength of the firm's brands.

Diageo's shares fell 2.5% to 1038 pence as analysts expressed some disappointment that profit forecasts had merely been restated rather than revised upwards.

But Keith Bowman, from Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said attitudes to the firm's shares were likely to remain "favourable".

"The important North American market is making progress, whilst the group's push into emerging markets continues to build momentum," he said.




SEE ALSO
Whisky galore as sales hit record
04 Apr 07 |  Business
Guinness sales losing their froth
06 Mar 07 |  Northern Ireland
Drinks firm's 100m whisky boost
15 Feb 07 |  North East/N Isles

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