The US brewer, Adolph Coors Co., posted net income for the fourth quarter of US$20.25m, up 27.4% from US$15.87m in the fourth quarter of 2001. Net income for the year as whole rose by 31.5% from US$122.96m to US$161.65m.

However, in spite of the rise a disappointing performance from the company's US operations resulted in the brewer falling short of analysts' forecasts by some way, resulting in a fall in the company's share price.

Coors' operating income for the quarter, excluding special items, was 63 cents a share, compared with 49 cents a share in the corresponding period last year. According to a Thomson First Call poll, analysts had on average been estimating 75 cents a share, with a range of 59 cents to 90 cents.

The company's net sales, after excise taxes, rose by 75.7% in the fourth quarter to US$981.1m, while net sales for 2002 as a whole were 55.4% higher at US$3.78 billion. The company said sales volumes reached 37.37m hectolitres in 2002, up 40.2% from 2001.

Coors said that the increase in volume, sales and earnings during 2002 was primarily attributable to the acquisition of the UK brewer, Bass, now Coors Brewers Ltd., from Interbrew in February 2002.