Smirnoff vodka maker Diageo was in good spirits on Thursday as it posted higher sales helped by strong demand for a new Game of Thrones–branded whisky. Profits rose 5.8% to £6.9 billion in the six months to December 31. In spite of currency headwinds, pre-tax earnings increased to £2.6 billion from £2.2 billion, boosted by a disposal.
In October its Johnnie Walker division launched a White Walker range inspired by TV show Game of Thrones. It sold one bottle a minute on Amazon UK in the first 24 hours. The drinks firm also declared a £660 million share buyback plan. Its shares increased by 107p to 2879p.
Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo said the firm “delivered broad-based volume and organic net sales growth across regions and categories”.
Steve Clayton, manager of Hargreaves Lansdown select funds, said: “These figures show the underlying strength of Diageo, with good growth across the board, despite a volatile macro-economic backdrop.”