Diageo says annual profits fizz higher

London (AFP) –


Diageo, the British maker of alcoholic drinks including Guinness stout, said Thursday that annual profits soared more than a fifth, aided partly by the pound weakening on Brexit uncertainty.

Profit after tax climbed 21 percent to £2.7 billion ($3.5 billion, 3.0 billion euros) in the group's financial year to the end of June, compared with 2015/2016, Diageo announced in a results statement.

Sales rose 15 percent to £12.1 billion, helped by favourable exchange rate moves.

Despite benefiting from the weak pound, the group did highlight uncertainty surrounding Brexit -- with Britain's EU departure set for March 2019 -- as a key risk to the outlook.

"We delivered a strong set of results," chief executive Ivan Menezes said in the earnings release.

"Our performance demonstrates the effective delivery of our strategy. We have delivered consistent strong performance improvement across all regions and I am pleased with progress in our focus areas of US spirits, scotch and India."

Last month, the London-listed drinks giant snapped up Casamigos, an upscale tequila brand co-founded by Hollywood star George Clooney, in a deal potentially worth $1 billion.

Casamigos is the fastest-growing so-called "super-premium" tequila brand in the United States, according to the company.