The Colombian brewing group, Grupo Empresarial Bavaria (GEB), reported consolidated net income of COP41.9 billion for the first half of 2003, down 41% from COP71.5 billion in the first half of last year.

The company attributed the drop to the cost of financing recent international expansion.

"The reduction in net income despite higher operating profits is principally the result of the interest expense on the debt incurred to finance GEB's international expansion and modernisation, the amortisation of goodwill and charges for the voluntary retirement programme," the company said.

Operating income rose from COP215 billion to COP636 billion for the first half, on sales of COP2.34 trillion against COP1.29 trillion in the first six months of last year. Bavaria said beer volumes rose by 7.1% in the first half to 11.7m hectolitres.