The Brazilian-based drinks force, Companhia de Bebidas das Américas (AmBev), posted net consolidated profits for the first quarter of 2003 of R$509m (US$176.7m).

Owing to the company's merger with the Argentine brewer, Quilmes, AmBev said that the figures were not comparable with the first quarter of 2002. Ambev said the net profit of R$509m included earnings from its 40.5% stake in Quilmes. In the corresponding period in 2002, Ambev recorded a net profit of R$222.8m.

Ambev said that first-quarter consolidated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 26.1% to R$677.1m (US$232.5m). EBITDA from the company's Brazilian operations rose by 25.1% to R$637.2m.

Consolidated net revenues rose by 11.3% in the first quarter to R$1.99 billion from R$1.78 billion in the first quarter of 2002.