Diageo has posted a rise in pre-tax profits of 13% to £2.2bn, despite a fall in global sales for its flagship Guinness brand.

Sales at the drinks giant grew by 2% on a like-for-like basis and by 5% for the year to just under £9.8bn.

While the growth was driven primarily by emerging markets, volumes were up by 9% in Britain, where the Smirnoff vodka brand benefited from an increased marketing spend.

Volumes and total sales dipped in North America, but Diageo said reduced costs had helped it maintain profitability in the region.

Globally, Johnnie Walker whisky showed the strongest growth, up 7% in like-for-like sales.

"Our performance was much stronger in the second half of the year than the first,” said chief executive Paul Walsh. “Our performance in the developing markets drove overall growth while markets in North America and Europe remained weak.”

He added: “We increased marketing in growing categories, delivering 5% organic net sales growth in Scotch and beer.

"The diversity of our business and strength of our brands gives us confidence that in fiscal 2011 we will improve on the profit growth we have delivered this year.”

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