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, the maker of Guinness beer and Johnnie Walker whiskey, said Thursday full-year profit rose 17% on improved price/mix and expanding operating margins.

Diageo earned 1.9 billion pounds ($3.11 billion) for the year ended June 30, up from 1.63 billion pounds a year earlier.

Sales rose 2% to 9.94 billion pounds. Organic net sales gained 5%.

The company, the world's biggest spirits maker, said gross margin expanded 70 basis points on "improved mix in emerging markets and North America."

In a statement, Paul Walsh, Diageo's CEO, said in the medium-term the company expects average organic top line growth of 6%.

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Diageo said sales rose 3% in North America, 9% in Asia Pacific and 13% in other international markets. Sales in Europe declined 3%. It experienced 24% growth in its reserved brands, such as Johnnie Walker and Ketel One vodka.

Diageo's report is in contrast to a report Wednesday from


, the largest seller of beer in Europe, which warned of weak demand in developed markets after first-half earnings declined.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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