The Latin American brewing force AmBev, part of the InBev group, has reported a threefold rise in third-quarter net earnings to BRL399m (US$178m), against BRL131.7m in the third quarter of 2004, well ahead of analysts' forecasts.

The company said that sales volumes in Brazil, where it controls around 70% of the beer market, rose by 3.4% from July to September of 2005 compared with the same period last year, and the company is forecasting growth of 1% to 2% in the fourth quarter. AmBev said that the predicted slower growth in the fourth quarter was due to the comparison with a robust fourth quarter in 2004.

Consolidated net sales, including Brazilian and international operations, reached BRL3.91bn in the third quarter, up from BRL2.95bn in the corresponding period a year earlier.

Third-quarter net sales at Canadian brewer Labatt Brewing Co., which was acquired by AmBev last year, rose by 1.9% to C$558.9m, with Labatt's third-quarter EBITDA up by 13% at C$233.5m.