London-based spirits maker Diageo said on Monday it has made a strong start to its fiscal year 2021, with its U.S. business performing ahead of expectations, as many countries ease their COVID-19 restrictions.

“Our outlook for the first half of fiscal 21 has improved since the year-end, reflecting the good start to the year, particularly for our US business,” Chief Executive Officer Ivan Menezes said.

The maker of Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka said it continues to expect sequential improvement in organic net sales and operating profit compared to the second half of fiscal 2020, which ended on June 30. However, on a year-over-year basis, it expects lower sales and margin dilution compared to the first half of fiscal 2020.

The company’s shares rose more than 5%.


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