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Diageo cheers emerging markets

Friday 1 February 2013 6:00

The drinks giant behind Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka says it will hit its target of generating half of its revenue from fast-growing emerging markets in 2013, two years early.

Surging sales in Africa, Asia and Latin America helped Diageo to a 5% rise in half-year net sales to £6bn despite a severe slump in Southern Mediterranean markets such as Spain.

Price rises helped push pre-tax profit up 5pc compared with the same period last year, to £1.96bn, leading to a 9pc increase in the interim dividend to 18.1p.

Growth was particularly strong in Latin America and the Caribbean, where net sales surged 18pc during the six months to December 31.

The group also reported sales growth of 5pc in the more developed US market, as North American drinkers buy upmarket brands such as Cîroc vodka and Bulleit Bourbon.