Cobra Beer has posted a massive loss in its latest full-year figures, just-drinks has learnt, despite rising sales at the UK-based beer company.

In a document sent to just-drinks today (4 June), Cobra reported a net loss for the year to the end of July 2007 of GBP13m (US$25.4m), compared to a net loss in the previous fiscal year of GBP4.5m. Operating losses more than doubled, to GBP6.6m from GBP2.7m a year earlier. The company recorded the losses despite a lift in sales for the 12-month period to GBP43.2m from GBP30.3m.

The increase in operating loss was blamed primarily on higher administrative expenses of GBP15.4m, reflecting increased investment in marketing, the document says. Last year, Cobra looked to reposition its namesake beer brand beyond the Indian food occasion via an "integrated advertising campaign", the company said. Increased administrative costs in India, to fund the company's growth in the country, also hit the bottom line.

Cobra was also hit by "significantly higher interest charges" on loan notes of GBP5.7m as a full year's interest was calculated on the GBP25m payment in kind raised in June 2006.

When contacted by just-drinks, Cobra's chief executive, Adrian McKeon, said: "Over the last few years Cobra has invested significantly to help drive the brand's growth in its key markets of India and the UK. Our strategic focus is on investing in brewing, distribution and marketing ahead of the curve.

"Cobra is in a very healthy position in our key markets due to this approach, and overall, in volume terms, our business is growing at 46% year-on-year."

Also in the document, Cobra's chairman, Lord Karan Bilimoria, confirmed that the company decided last year to close down its US operations. "We were unable to secure the trademark for Cobra Beer in the US, and thus we made the strategic decision to withdraw from the American market," Lord Bilimoria said. The company remains interested in the potential for Cobra in the US, "but we have decided for the time being to refocus our priorities, and perhaps to look at America again in the longer term".

Earlier this month, Lord Bilimoria was cited as saying that Cobra may decide to list its shares through an initial public offering, merge the company, or sell it to an interested buyer within the next three years.