Food and drinks conglomerate Diageo has reported operating profit growth of 14% for its international wine and spirits division for the second half of last year to £614m. A split of the company's business figures shows that growth in Europe was up 15%, North America up 12%, Asia Pacific up 31%, Latin America down 4% and Rest of World up 36%.

Group chief executive John McGrath said turnover was up 7% and operating profit up 10% overall. To continue this momentum, the company had to increase the marketing spend behind Diageo's brands by 13% in the period which would further strengthen their leadership positions and drive shareholder value. The Spirits and Wine business had delivered on all fronts: top line growth of 11% driven by an overall volume increase of 6%; margin improvement of 0.5 percentage points; operating profit improvement of 14%." Turnover in the division was £2,877m, an annual increase of 5%.. Organic growth of 11% offset a £139m reduction due to brand disposals made since the beginning of 1998.