Diageo has forecast a 4% increase in underlying sales for the year to June 2006. Over the same period, it expects to see operating profits increase 7%. The company’s chief executive Paul Walsh went on to say that plans for the North American market were going strongly, while it expected to take a hit from the upcoming smoking ban in Northern Ireland. The company has also suffered in the Republic of Ireland due to a smoking ban there having a deleterious effect on the on-trade and subsequently, to sales of Guinness. Concerning the worldwide outlook, Walsh added: "The current oil price has led to higher costs for all consumer goods companies. Diageo is not immune to this, but our cost structure does reduce our exposure, and therefore we currently expect to contain these cost pressures within our overall guidance."