Diageo has maintained its guidance for the current year. The drinks giant, which is holding its AGM in London this afternoon (18 October), has released a statement in which CEO Paul Walsh said: "At our results presentation in September we reported top and bottom line organic growth for the fifth consecutive year. On that occasion I said that we expected to continue that trend and that top and bottom line growth in fiscal 2006 would be similar to that delivered in the year ended June 2005 when we achieved 4% organic net sales growth and 7% organic operating profit growth.

"Trading in the first quarter of the new financial year supports this guidance," he added.

"In North America, our business continues to gain share in the growing spirits category. In Europe, as we anticipated, the trading environment continues to be difficult with volume down on the prior period and the decline in the ready to drink segment continuing to adversely impact net sales growth. In the International region, volume growth remains strong and the markets which we identified as underperformers last year, Korea, Taiwan and Nigeria, are now making progress in line with our expectations.

"The current oil price has led to higher costs for all consumer goods companies. Diageo is not immune to this but our cost structure does reduce our exposure and, therefore, we currently expect to contain these cost pressures within our overall guidance.

"In addition if the recent strengthening of the US dollar were to be maintained the negative impact in fiscal 2006 of the year on year movement in exchange rates is estimated to be GBP45m. This is a slight improvement from the GBP50m adverse movement we estimated in September but if current rates were maintained we would expect a more substantial improvement in fiscal 2007.

"Diageo is the world's leading premium drinks company and we are well positioned to deliver our goal to consistently achieve our growth objectives," Walsh added.