Latin American brewer AmBev has said second quarter net profit fell 10%, despite gains in both revenue and volumes.

Net profit for the three months to 30 June fell to R$402m (US$249m), compared to R$448.7m for the same period last year, AmBev said today (14 August).

The group, which owns Brahma and Skol brands and forms part of brewing giant InBev, blamed the slide on higher taxes and capital losses from subsidiaries during the quarter.

The slip did not prevent the brewer from reporting a 4.7% rise in net income to R$1.1bn for the first half. It also increased first half revenue by 4% to R$9.6bn.   

Luiz Fernando Edmond, CEO for AmBev Latin America, said: "Although 2008 will remain a challenging year, we believe industry growth should improve in the second half of the year with food inflation decelerating."

In Brazil, where AmBev has a 67% beer market share, the brewer said that it increased volumes by 4% in the second quarter, following the industry's return to growth. First half volume growth was 1.6%, with revenue up 6.6%, as the group benefited from beer price rises.

AmBev's Quinsa arm increased first half revenue and volumes by 11%, despite what the firm described as a challenging political and economic environment in its main Argentinian market.

AmBev added that the Venezuelan and Canadian markets remained difficult during the six-month period. The former was likely to damage operating profit in the group's so-called HILA-ex region, also ecompassing Peru, Ecuador and Dominican Republic.     

Some analysts have speculated that a stricter drink-driving law in Brazil may hamper AmBev in its third quarter.