DB Breweries, the country's second largest brewing force, reported net profit of NZ$13.4m for the six months to the end of March, 72% down from last year's figure of NZ48.7m. However, last year's figure had been boosted by NZ$35.3m from discontinued operations following the sale of the company's Corbans wine subsidiary.

The company said that earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose by 4.4% to NZ21.3m on sales 2.2% higher at NZ159.9m.

Managing director, Brian Blake, said the beer market in New Zealand had been relatively stable during the first half but "sales in the premium sector continue to increase, presenting DB Breweries with additional opportunities to maximise higher margins from our premium brands, Heineken and Monteiths."

DB Breweries is 77%-owned by Asia Pacific Breweries, a joint venture between Singapore's Fraser & Neave and the Dutch brewing conglomerate, Heineken.