Diageo, the world’s biggest spirits firm, has reported a 4.8% decline in underlying pre-tax profit to £1.235bn for the six months to December 31, which it noted was in line with expectations.

In North America volumes for the group, which owns the Guinness brand, grew by 5% and in Europe the growth measured 1%.

Turnover for the half year was £4.98bn compared with £5.06bn the year before.