Why Diageo Is Up 23% This Year

LONDON -- Diageo (LSE: DGE.L  ) (NYSE: DEO  ) has advanced about 23% to 1,766 pence so far during 2012, making the share one of this year's best performers in the FTSE 100.

The company -- one of the world's leading premium-drinks businesses, with brands including Johnnie Walker, Baileys, and Guinness -- seems to have impressed investors with a series of positive statements.

During May, the group issued an interim management statement revealing that organic net sales were still growing strongly, having risen 7% in the nine months to March 31, with sales volumes up 3%. The best performance came from Diageo's Latin America and Caribbean operations, which saw organic net sales surge 18%. Elsewhere, sales cooled off in North America and grew just 5%, while a 1% sales dip was reported in Europe.

In September, Diageo issued its financial report for the year to June 30. Group sales rose 10% to 14.6 billion pounds, while operating profits soared 22% to almost 3.2 billion pounds. The total dividend for the year was increased by a healthy 7.7% to 43.5 pence per share.

And just last week, Diageo released a statement for the three months ended Sept 30. Organic net sales growth slowed slightly to 5%, but the Latin America and Caribbean regions still saw growth of 16%, while North America improved to 6%. Although Europe as a whole saw another 1% decline, there was double-digit growth in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Turkey.

Paul Walsh, Diageo's chief executive, commented last week:

Diageo has delivered a solid start to the new financial year with net sales growth in line with expectations. The strength of our brands and our routes to market, coupled with the investments we have made in faster growing markets continue to drive the performance of our business.

As a global business we continue to be aware of the uneven nature of the global economy. However we remain confident that we will deliver our medium term goals, given the strength of our brands and our routes to market.

Diageo's half-year results will be published during February and may reveal further encouraging news to impress investors.

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Jon does not own any share mentioned in this article. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Diageo. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.


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