Cobra Beer, which today (3 February) reported a 20% rise in beer volumes for its fiscal first-half, has begun presentations to potential buyers, just-drinks understands.

Cobra Beer said today (3 February) that volume sales were up 21% for the six months ended 31 January 2009. A company spokesperson told just-drinks that value sales growth was "broadly in-line" with the volume increase.

The news comes as just-drinks understands that Cobra's management team has begun sales presentations to those interested in buying the beer group.

Cobra, which is 67%-owned by founder Lord Bilimoria, hopes to agree a sale by the end of March, according to a source familiar with the situation, and has already declared its willingness to split its India and UK businesses.     

The group's first-half sales rise contrasts with an 8% volume decline across the UK beer market in the last three months of 2008, as reported by the British Beer and Pub Association last week. Cobra said that its volumes grew at 28% in the final quarter, albeit from a relatively low base.

Lord Bilimoria said: "People often ask us how Cobra is growing so well against a back drop of a declining beer market. The answer is very simple - this is a result of Cobra's chief executive Adrian McKeon, who having started in Aug 2007, spent six months putting together a strengthened team, new brand positioning and a strategy that is delivering month after month."