Guinness maker Diageo reports slight rise in profits

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Diageo, the world's biggest maker of alcoholic drinks, said Thursday that annual net profits rose slightly on a strong second half driven by growth in emerging markets which offset weakness in the West.

The maker of Guinness, Baileys liquor and Smirnoff vodka said profits after tax increased by 1.5 percent to 1.629 billion pounds (1.994 billion euros, 2.536 billion dollars) in the 12 months to June compared with 2008/09.

"As expected this has been a year of challenges," Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh said in a statement.

"Our performance was much stronger in the second half than in the first. Our performance in the developing markets drove overall growth while markets in North America and Europe remained weak."

© 2010 AFP

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