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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 September 2005, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
Belgium's Inbev sees profits soar
Beck's brewery bottling plant in Bremen, north-west Germany
Beck's has been faring better than Stella Artois in world markets
The world's biggest brewer by volume, Inbev, has unveiled an 86% profits rise for the first half of 2005, thanks to growth in Latin America and Russia.

The results were boosted by Inbev's - formerly Interbrew - acquisition of Brazilian beer firm Ambev last year.

Belgium-based Inbev said net profits were 382m euros ($474.6m; 258.3m), up from 205m euros a year earlier.

The group, which makes Stella Artois and Beck's, said three-quarters of sales came from emerging markets.

Overall, sales rose 6.8% to 5.22bn euros.

Brands' progress

Inbev said that during 2005, it would be making Brazil's top beer brand, Brahma, available in more than 15 countries worldwide.

In the first half of the year, sales of Brahma grew by 20%, mainly because of market share recovery in Brazil and growth in Venezuela, the company said.

Beck's grew by 11.6% in the same period, particularly in China, but Stella Artois volume declined by 4%, mainly because of a big sales drop in the UK where the premium lager segment lost ground, Inbev said.

Chief executive John Brock said trading conditions were "challenging" in more developed markets.

US beermaker Anheuser-Busch sells less beer by volume than Inbev, but is bigger in terms of the value of its sales.

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