Japanese drinks group Suntory has reported a steep rise in earnings in 2005 thanks to the sale of its stake in Allied Domecq.

Suntory yesterday (22 February) posted a net profit of JPY26bn (US$222m), a leap of 51% on the year, after selling a 3.42% stake in Allied following Pernod Ricard's acquisition of the UK drinks giant. Suntory said it received JPY22.1bn for the holding.

Revenues rose 4.3% to JPY1.4 trillion but alcohol sales were up only 0.6%, as the company's beer business continued to struggle.

Operating profit was up 6.7% to JPY64.6bn.