Hansen Natural has said profits increased 35% in its first half, but the group warned of rising raw materials costs and a slowing energy drink market in the US.

Net profits rose to US$79m for the six months ended 30 June, with net sales up 20% to $494m during the same period, Hansen Natural announced yesterday (7 August).

The California-based drinks group said strong performances from its Monster Energy and Java Monster drinks brands drove the sales rise.

But, in another sign that a slowdown in western economies is beginning to impact on drinks firms, Hansen added that almost all categories of ready-to-drink products in the US were experiencing a tough time.

Chairman and CEO Rodney Sacks said: "This weakness is most pronounced in convenience store cold drink channels, where the vast majority of energy drinks are sold. We continue to believe that the moderating growth that we have seen in energy drinks appears, in part, to be due to the challenging macro economic environment and the resulting decline in store traffic, primarily in the convenience and gas sector [and] especially in Southern California."

The group also reported rising costs for sugar, aluminium and apple juice concentrate.

Net income for the second quarter of 2008 increased 31% to $50.2m, with sales up 15.3% to $282.2m.