LONDON: The world's biggest vendor of alcoholic drinks brands, Diageo, plans to expand sales of its iconic Guinness stout in Africa as consumption falters in its Irish home market.

The brand's sales fell one per cent globally and were down 4% in Europe in the six months to December. Guinness comprises some 13% of UK-headquartered Diageo's total sales revenues - £7.26 billion ($14.8bn; €10.8bn) in the 2006 fiscal year.

The company denies that poor marketing is behind the slip in Guinness sales and points the finger at changes in drinkers' pub and bar habits.

Meantime, Diageo is also looking to buy Swedish vodka brand Absolut from the state-owned Vin & Sprit business.

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff