Drinks giant Diageo, which of course has Northern Ireland's, "Bushmills" in its stable of brands, presented its six months figures for the period ending 31st December 2012 this week. There was certainly little evidence of a recessionary hangover, save for the figures for Southern Europe which not unsurprisingly saw an eighteen percent decline. Overall however pre-tax profits in the six months period were up five percent compared to the same period in the previous year , - £1.96 billion on net sales of some £6 billion, That is a lot of hootch!
On the back of these results Paul Walsh and his fellow directors have decided to pay their shareholders an increased interim dividend of 18.1p per share, a not insubstantial nine percent increase on the previous year.
China and Southern America seem to be the big growth areas for Diageo's amber nectar. The burgeoning Chinese middle classes are becoming particularly partial to a drop of, "the hard stuff," The Daily Telegraph recently reported on the opening of Beijing's, "Johnny Walker House," where a personalised bottle of Johnny Walker can be apparently be had for the ever so reasonable price of £80,000!