Grolsch has posted a slight lift in its results for the first half of this year.

The Dutch brewer said today (11 September) that operating profit for the six months to the end of June rose to EUR11m (US$15.16m) compared to EUR10.2m in the corresponding period a year earlier. The lift came on the back of rising sales, which were up 8% to EUR164m from EUR152m.

Net profit was also up, by 17% to EUR7.6m from EUR6.5m.

The company credited the worldwide introduction of the returnable 33cl bottle in the half, and strong exports to the US for the increases.

"Our good results in the first half of 2007 reflect our strategy, which focuses on the best route to market and innovations," said company CEO Ab Pasman. "The world-wide introduction of the new green 33 cl. bottle at the start of the year contributed to this.

"The successful cooperation with Anheuser-Busch in the US led to a marked increase in sales, with volume growth of above 50%," Pasman added. "Our export markets showed strong growth. Volume growth overall for the international operations was 8%."

Volumes in the UK, meanwhile, remained stable.

Looking forward, Grolsch said it expects full-year net profit growth to hit around 10%, but warned that it "currently faces drastic increases in raw materials prices". The cost of malt has doubled since last year, the brewer noted. "These increases in raw materials prices will be passed on," Grolsch said.

In April, Grolsch was stung by a EUR31.58m fine by the European Commission for its part in a cartel between brewers in Holland. Grolsch, who is appealing the fine, said today that it provisionally advanced the amount of the fine in July.