The Argentine brewing group, Quilmes Industrial (Quinsa) SA, has posted an operating loss for the second quarter of 2002 of $4.0m, against a net profit a year earlier of $21.9m.

The company also recorded a net loss after tax of $23.6m, compared with a net profit of $0.6m in the corresponding period a year earlier. The company said its business was severely affected by the adverse economic conditions in Argentina following the devaluation of the peso.

Earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) reached $19.8m for the quarter, down 58% from $46.6m in the corresponding quarter last year.

The company also reported an operating loss for the first half of 2002 of $2.7m against an operating profit of $80.3m a year earlier, and a net loss after tax of $47.0m compared with a net profit in the first half of 2001 of $22.2m. EBITDA for the six months to June 2002 reached $45.0m against $129.1m last year.

Net sales fell by 52% to $82.6m for the quarter and by 50% from $474.1m to $237.6m for the six months. The falls were largely due to the effect of the Argentine peso devaluation on prices measured in US dollars, the company said, with lower volume sales accounting for about 21% of the decline in revenues.