Grupo Modelo has seen a drop in export sales in the first quarter of this year hammer its profits.

The Mexican brewer, which produces the Corona beer brand, said earlier this week that net profit for the first three months of 2008 dropped by 15.9% on the corresponding period a year earlier, coming in at MXN2.07bn (US$197.6m). Sales followed suit, down 2.5% to MXN16.16bn.

Despite a 2.6% lift in domestic sales volumes, export sales, primarily to the US, dipped by 7.7% in the period.

Modelo, whose Corona beer is the top-selling export beer brand in the US, is half-owned by Anheuser-Busch.

Earlier this week, Anheuser-Busch posted a slip in net income, despite a rise in sales for the first three months of this year.

The US-based brewer said that net income for the first quarter came in 1.3% down on the corresponding period a year earlier, at US$511m. Net sales, however, were up by 6.2% at $4.1bn.