Baltika has credited its "successful merger" with three other Russian breweries for a strong performance in the first quarter.

The Russian company, which is owned by Carlsberg and Scottish & Newcastle's joint venture Baltic Beverages Holding, said yesterday that sales in the three-month period were up 46% to EUR408.6m (US$550.8m). In volume terms, sales increased 41.6% to 8.7m hectolitres.

Net profit, meanwhile, leapt 54% year-on-year to EUR57.m.

"The company's high financial results and significant market share gain in Q1 were made possible by implementation of the development strategy based on innovations and power brands and by the effective distribution and sales as a result of Baltika merger," noted Baltika president Anton Artemiev.

The brewer also noted a 20% climb in export sales to 0.4m hectolitres, thanks in part to the introduction of its brands to Switzerland and Mexico. In its domestic market, Baltika claimed its market share rose by 2.6% in the quarter to 37.5%.

Last year, Baltika finally merged with Pikra, Vena and Yarpivo breweries, also owned by BBH. The merger had been held up by minority shareholders, but finally went through in August.