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Diageo's half-year sales rise on India, China demand; announces share buyback

Diageo posts 20% growth in Chinese business as ‘premiumization’ trend continues

Diageo Plc, the world's largest spirits company, reported higher half-year sales on Thursday, helped by strength in India and China.

The British maker of Johnnie Walker Scotch and Smirnoff vodka reported net sales of 6.91 billion pounds ($9.07 billion), up 7 percent on an organic basis, for the six months ended Dec. 31.

It reported earnings of 77 pence per share, excluding one-time items.

A range of drinking brands owned by Diageo
Diageo | Igor Emmerich

Analysts on average were expecting organic net sales growth of 5.5 percent and earnings of 71.4 pence per share for the period, according to a company-supplied consensus.

Diageo also said it would buy back 660 million pounds worth of shares, bringing the total buyback programme to up to 3 billion pounds for the year ending June 30.