Diageo profits up 7%

Diageo has reported a 7% rise in annual profits to £1.6 billion for the year to June 30, 2009.

The company attributed the growth to favourable currency exchange rates and cost-cutting measures, despite tough trading conditions.

“This has been a very challenging year. Overall however our results demonstrate the resilience of our business,” said chief executive Paul Walsh in a statement announcing Diageo's full-year results.

“We took action quickly to manage these difficult times, reducing our cost base and refocusing marketing spend as consumer trends changed. In fiscal 2010 we will benefit from cost reductions of £120 million as a result of our global restructuring initiative,” he added.

Diageo GB posted a modest 2% increase in net sales.

Managing director Simon Litherland said the company's “strong brands” including Smirnoff and Guinness, and its ability to “adapt to consumer changes" has helped it perform ahead of the market.

Spirits turned in a “solid performance” driven by Bell’s Original and Baileys, according to Litherland, who added that the spirits category has delivered over £200 million of growth year-on-year.