Royal Unibrew has posted an increase in losses for the first quarter.

The Danish brewer said today (29 April) that net loss for the first three months of 2008 increased "slightly above expectations" to DKK68.3m (US$14.3m) from DKK42.9m in the corresponding period a year earlier. The losses widened, despite a 19% lift in net sales, to DKK838.3m from DKK704.6m.

Operating losses shrank from DKK43.1m to DKK35.1m.

The net loss increase was blamed on DKK39m of "special expenses", which included costs relating to the closure of the Aarhus brewery.

"A loss is usual for brewery businesses in Q1, which is used to carry out major maintenance work on production facilities while demand for beer and soft drinks, and thus sales and production volumes, is limited," the company said. "Therefore, the results for Q1 do not reflect a proportionate share of the full-year results."

Looking forward, Royal Unibrew reiterated its guidance of full-year profit between DKK230m and DKK270m.