Compania Cervecerias Unidas has posted a rise in Q3 volume sales. The Chilean brewer has also said that it plans to support Anheuser-Busch's plan to sell its 20% stake in the company.

Volume sales in the third quarter rose by 4.2%, according to a preliminary report, CCU said. Volumes reached 2,451,182 hectolitres in the quarter and 7,690,064 hectolitres in the first nine months, an increase of 4.3% on the year.

In Chile, sales growth slowed again, dropping to 2.7% from 2.9% in the second quarter, 3.1% in the first quarter, and 8.1% in the fourth quarter. In neighbouring Argentina, where demand has climbed back strongly following the country's 2002 economic implosion, volume sales were up by 11.4% on the year, from 6.4% on the year in the second quarter. In the first quarter, the sales rise totalled 14.8%.

CCU's board of directors said last March that it would back AB's intention to sell its interest, but the transaction has taken longer than initially expected.

In a meeting on Wednesday (6 October), the board agreed to take further steps to support the sale. In a statement, the company said: "The board of directors agreed to undertake the necessary procedures to formalise its support ... for a secondary share offer in national and international arenas to be carried out by Anheuser-Busch ..."

The brewer did not say when the offer would take place.

The withdrawal of AB is due to conflicts with rival Heineken, which indirectly bought a controlling stake in CCU last year despite AB's efforts to prevent it.

Heineken took a 50% stake in Inversiones y Renta, or IRSA, the holding company which controls 61.6% of CCU. Quinenco owns the other 50% of IRSA.