Diageo interim profits up 9 per cent

14 February, 2008

Strong sales of Smirnoff, Baileys and Guinness over the past six months have helped push Diageo’s half year profits up by 9 per cent.

The drinks company made a profit of £1,414 million in the six months to Dec 31 2007, compared to £1,306 million in the same period the previous year.

In the UK, Baileys sales rose 11 per cent, driven, the company says, by a “simplified Christmas pricing strategy”. Smirnoff too benefited from the same pricing strategy and two marketing campaigns which helped push sales up by 4 per cent.

Guinness, which experienced a sales dip during the same period the previous year, saw sales rise 6 per cent. Diageo said a 20 per cent increase in marketing spend and new advertising campaigns were likely to be responsible for the turnaround.

Commenting on the results, Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh, said: “This first half performance demonstrates that our brands are well supported and our routes to market remain strong and therefore, while we continue to watch for any impact that recent financial market volatility may have on broader trading conditions, we are maintaining our guidance for 9 per cent organic operating profit growth for the current fiscal year.”

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English wine: a happy harvest for Christmas

All across England and Wales, vineyards are being harvested. Down winding country lanes come armies of welly-wearing conscripts wielding secateurs and buckets, ready to reap the rewards of our vines. Happily they come, their cheeks ruddy with pride. Half an hour later they’re crawling over muddy clods with lacerated hands, drenched in claggy juice and cold sweat, as if ploughing through an endurance race.

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