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Published:  23 July, 2008

The eventual sale of Burger King saw Diageo post half-year losses, although the City reacted positively to the results, which were underpinned by good trading in the drinks giant's core products, producing a profit before tax, goodwill and exceptionals of 1.3 billion. Don Goulding, managing director of Diageo Great Britain, said: We have delivered good results across all our major brands, and this shows that the strategy we have in place is continuing to deliver growth for us and our customers. Our half-year operating profits are up 12% compared to the same period last year, demonstrating that our long-term heavy investment in our brands [marketing spend was up 19% on the previous half-year] is paying off.' Baileys was the star performer among Diageo's brands, with volume up 35%. The cream was the number two selling brand among all alcoholic drinks in the multiple grocers at Christmas, and also benefited from the launch of the Baileys Minis. Smirnoff Vodka also performed well, with volume up 11%, although off-shoot Smirnoff Ice seems to have been hit by the duty increases and posted a rise of just 7%, well below the previous year's figure. Elsewhere, the recently redesigned Gordon's was up 6%, Blossom Hill 10% and Bell's 2% (all by volume). Guinness sales remained relatively static, with a 1% rise in sales reported.