- Diageo posted strong performance for six months ended 31 December 2017 with reported net sales of £6.5bn and operating profit of £2.2bn - up 1.7% and 6.1%, respectively.

The group said the rise in net sales and operating profit was supported by organic growth, which was partially offset, however, by adverse exchange.

Diageo said all regions contributed to broad based organic net sales growth, up 4.2%, and organic volume grew 1.8%.

Organic operating profit grew 6.7%, ahead of top line growth, as higher marketing investment was more than offset by efficiencies from our productivity programme.

Diageo said cash flow continued to be strong and in line with last year, with net cash from operating activities at £1.2bn and free cash flow at £1bn.

Basic eps of 82.2 pence was up 36.3%. Pre-exceptional eps was 67.8 pence, up 9.4%, as higher organic operating profit and lower finance charges.

Diageo said it continued to expect mid-single digit organic net sales growth and was raising its margin improvement objective from 100bps to 175bps over the three years ending 30 June 2019.

The interim dividend increased 5% to 24.9 pence per share.

Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive said: 'Our financial performance expectations for this year remain unchanged. We are confident in our ability to deliver consistent mid-single digit top line growth and 175bps of organic operating margin improvement in the three years ending 30 June 2019.'

At 8:08am: [LON:DGE] Diageo PLC share price was +23.75p at 2566.25p

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