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EDITIONS
Monday, 28 October, 2002, 12:01 GMT
Interbrew sales lose their froth
Beck's
Interbrew owns German beer giant Beck's
Belgian brewer Interbrew, maker of Becks and Stella Artois, has seen its shares slip after reporting disappointing sales figures.

Investors were unsettled by news that sales in Russia had slowed, and Interbrew's shares slipped 2% to 23.84 euros on Monday morning.

The sale of the Carling brewing business earlier this year meant that Interbrew reported lower sales and profits for the first nine months of the year.

But the company, the world's third biggest brewer by volume, said it still expected to meet its full-year profit target of 1.50 euros a share before one-off costs.

"Barring unforeseen circumstances Interbrew is on track to meet its objectives," the company said.

Russian sales slow

Interbrew said it enjoyed strong volume growth in North America, and saw sales rise in Western Europe despite cool summer weather.

But in some of the emerging markets the company's performance was less impressive.

"In Russia, market growth slowed significantly in the month of September, and Sun Interbrew's operations were disappointing," Interbrew said.

Interbrew also said that sales growth had slowed to 3.5% in South Korea.

"This (Russia) is negative news for us as Sun Interbrew is supposed to become a major growth driver for Interbrew," said Puilaetco analyst Florence Van Tomme.

Earnings down

For the nine months to the end of September, Interbrew said its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) came in at 1.06bn euros, down 8.5% on the same period last year.

Earnings before interest and tax were 15.1% lower at 581m euros, while net revenues fell 3% to 5.3bn euros.

The figures included the cost of restructuring its UK operations.

In February, Interbrew sold its Carling business to US-based Adolph Coors for $1.7bn.

Interbrew had been forced by British competition watchdogs to sell Carling as a condition of being allowed to buy the UK brewer Bass.

See also:

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