The South American beer giant AmBev, looks set to post firm 2001 results after taking measures to compensate a slowing sales environment with price rises.

According to analysts' predictions, reported by Reuters, AmBev will record 2001 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), of 1.89 billion reais (US$788m).

Although the results will mean EBITDA growth (EBITDA was 1.5 billion reais in 2000), they do fall short of the 2.0 billion reais AmBev was hoping to hit.

AmBev, created in 2000 when Brazil's leading drinks companies Brahma and Antarctica merged, has around 70% of Brazil's beer market and 18% of soft drink market, should also benefit from a series of cost reductions which helped profit margins, analysts say.

Net profit is predicted to be well up on both full year and last quarter results, but volumes though are thought to have dropped due to the economic climate and the price rises.