Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar saw its pre-tax profits drop by almost 30%  in 2008.

Profits fell to CZK213m (US$11.5m) for the 12 months of 2008, compared to the same period last year.

Net sales rose by 1.6% to CZK2.34bn, said the group, which exports around half of its production. 

Profits fell, according to general director Jirí Bocek, due to strong local currency, as well as higher costs for hops, malt and power.

Budvar reported 2008 sales by volume up 5% to 1.3m hectolitres of beer.

It said it raised its share of the Czech beer market from 6.3% to 6.6%, after industry-wide beer sales by volume across the Czech Republic dropped by 0.5%. Domestic sales accounted for 731mhl of the company's overall production.