Diageo Raises Profit Guidance

Diageo, the UK-based maker of Smirnoff vodka and Johnnie Walker whiskey, upped guidance Thursday and also reported a strong rise in first-half earnings thanks to strong sales in North America and Asia.

The company said it predicts profit growth, excluding acquisitions, of 8%, up from previous guidance of 7%.

Shares rose 2.2% and Diageo CEO Paul Walsh says he is not that concerned by weakness for products like Smirnoff Ice.

“The (ready-to-drink) market is soft in Europe, but it represents a relatively small piece of our total business," Walsh told "Squawk Box Europe." "By far the largest component of Diageo is our spirits business, and within that Scotch is very important and doing very well.”

Regarding last year’s weak U.K. sales numbers, Walsh said a hot summer "dented the performance of Guinness" and noted that the U.K. is less than 10% of the company's total business.