The Russian-based beer group, Baltic Beverages Holding (BBH), saw production rise by between 15% and 20% in the first quarter of this fiscal year, the company's president, Christian Ramm-Schmidt, said yesterday.

The company did not provide precise figures but Ramm-Schmidt said that the company's Russian operations, which in 2001 accounted for 80% of its total production, increased output by 37% in the first quarter. Last year, BBH produced 24m hls of beer and soft drinks, up by 30% from the previous year.

With some seven breweries, BBH currently has a market share of around 33% in Russia and Ramm-Schmidt said the company plans to increase its presence there during 2002 and beyond. In addition to its operations in Russia, BBH, which is jointly owned by Carlsberg and Scottish & Newcastle, owns four breweries in the Baltic countries and two in Ukraine.