Diageo CEO: Europe Market Is Lackluster

Diageo, the world's biggest spirits maker, reported slowing growth in earnings on Thursday and the CEO told CNBC the Europe market was lackluster.

The company, which owns brands such as Johnnie Walker, Captain Morgan, Baileys and Guinness said operating profits rose 9 percent over the previous year. Earnings per share also increased by 9 percent compared to the previous year, but that growth rate was down from 16 percent in the comparable period a year ago.

"We're continuing to see very strong performance from the new high growth markets. The U.S. is performing strong. Europe is more lackluster," CEO Paul Wash told CNBC Thursday.

"We continue to see difficulty with consumer expenditure in southern Europe."

Organic sales in the company's fiscal first-half rose 5 percent year-on-year.

Operating profit at the firm was 2.05 billion pounds ($3.28 billion) with pretax profit at 1.96 billion pounds ($3.13 billion).