The Mexican brewer and bottler Femsa, has said that price hikes have dented its beer volumes, although the company went on to say that it was experiencing a recovery now.

The company announced yesterday that it had experienced a 1.5% decline in beer volumes in the quarter hit by a fall in domestic volumes of 2.2%, despite an export rise 8.8 percent.

"Domestic price increases were rolled out between mid-February and mid-March on the order of 7% in nominal terms," Femsa's finance director, Federico Reyes, told analysts on a conference call. "Prices for exports were not increased in the period."

The company said it was sure these price rises had affected volumes as it had seen growth up until the rises and then negative trends after.

However the company said it was confident of hitting 2002 forecasts of seeing the beer division's domestic volumes increase between 1% and 2% and export volumes grow 5% to 7% over 2001.

Femsa maintained its outlook for operating profit in the beer division to grow 4 percent to 6 percent in 2002.