July 31, 2013 – Diageo, the world’s largest whisky producer, reported an 8% increase in profits for the 2012 fiscal year ending June 30. Overall sales rose 5%, pushed largely by a rise in U.S. sales and price increases globally.

CEO Ivan Menezes, in his first annual report since replacing Paul Walsh earlier this year, cited the strong North American performance along with sales in Latin America and the Caribbean. North American net sales gained 5%, while operating profits rose 9% on the price increases for Johnnie Walker and many other Diageo products. Sales in Latin America and the Caribbean were up 15% and profits rose 26%. Johnnie Walker sales worldwide surpassed the 20 million case mark for the first time, while single malt Scotch sales rose by 17% during the year. Other strong spots included Crown Royal, with a 17% increase in sales following the launch of Crown Royal Maple, Buchanan’s blended Scotch with a gain of 26%, and a 12% gain for Bushmills.

Europe remains a soft spot for Diageo and other drinks companies. Sales fell by 3% and profits by 7% across the region, dragged down largely by weak economies in Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Italy. Declining beer sales in  the UK and Ireland cut into Guinness sales, and France suffered from what Diageo described as a weak trading environment.

Links: Diageo