Companhia de Bebidas das Americas (AmBev) has posted a healthy lift in sales and profits for the third quarter of this year.

The Latin American arm of InBev, which is based out of Brazil, said yesterday (5 November) that net profit for the three months to the end of September leapt by 61% year-on-year, coming in at BRL949m (US$444.1m). Sales on an organic basis lifted less impressively, up by 10.1% to BRL4.81bn, with EBITDA up organically by 6.4% to BRL2.03bn.

Despite poor weather in September and softer consumer spending in Brazil, AmBev said it recovered beer market share in the country for the quarter, reaching 67.2%. Quinsa, AmBev's operations in neighbouring Argentina, delivered what the company described as "another strong quarter".

The cost of goods sold (COGS) made its presence felt, however, with COGS per hectolitre climbing by 11% in the three-month period. "These increases were partly offset by expected gains arising from sugar hedges, currency appreciation and efficiency projects in Brazil where COGS per hectolitre grew by only 3%, well below the level of inflation," the company said.

For the year to date, AmBev delivered a 24.4% leap in net profit to BRL2.09bn, with sales climbing on an organic basis by 4% to BRL103bn. EBITDA produced a 7.1% organic increase, totalling BRL6.09bn.

Earlier this year, AmBev suffered a scare when its Q1 results were hit by volume declines in Brazil for both its beer and CSD operations. Gross profit for the first three months of 2008 was up by only 3.1% to $3.2m.