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

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
A range of drinking brands owned by Diageo

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.