(Reuters) – Johnnie Walker whisky maker Diageo on Friday said it expected organic operating profit growth to decline in the first half of its current financial year due to “materially weaker” performance in Latin America and Caribbean.

“Macroeconomic pressures in the region are resulting in lower consumption and consumer downtrading,” the world’s biggest spirits company said in a statement.

“These impacts are slowing down progress in reducing channel inventory to appropriate levels for the current environment.”

Latin America and Caribbean makes up nearly 11% of the company’s net sales, according to Diageo.

Sales in the region are now expected to decline by more than 20%, year-on-year, in the first half of fiscal 2024, the company added. Diageo’s financial year 2023 ended on June 30.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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