Efes Breweries International has said net profit halved in the first six months of this year, despite strong revenue gains in the key Russian beer market.

Efes (EBI) said last week that net profit for the six months ended 30 June fell by around 55%, from US$17.4m to $7.8m.

The Turkey-based brewer blamed the slide on extra capital expenditure to finance expansion in Kazakhstan, as well as higher commodity prices.

Revenue for the half rose 36% to $524m, with volumes up by more than 10%, the group added.

Russia, the firm's biggest market, accounting for three quarters of total sales, increased revenue by 35%, largely thanks to growth from the premium Stary Melnik brand. Volumes increased by 12% year-on-year, compared to more sluggish volume growth of 2.4% across the country's beer market as a whole, Efes said.

Kazakhstan and Serbia continued to grow, reporting 31% and 33% revenue rises. Efes last week confirmed it had completed a deal to merge its operations in Kazakhstan and Serbia with Heineken, with the Turkish brewer taking a 28% stake in both ventures.

Cost pressures and food inflation would continue to be a concern, said the firm in its outlook. It warned these factors would eat into operating margins, but added: "We are cautiously optimistic about the overall consumption growth in our operating territories."