The Finnish beverages group Hartwall has seen strong sales in its Russian business drive earnings growth in its first half. The group, which is the subject of a takeover by the UK’s Scottish & Newcastle, was also positive about future profit growth.

"The outlook for the consolidated business remains very positive. Net sales and operating profit are estimated to continue their strong growth in the future," Hartwall said in a statement.

Profit before extraordinary items leapt 23% to €79.3m (US$76.92m), compared to the same period last year. Net sales jumped by a third to €484m.

A key driver in the company’s success was its joint venture in Russia with Carlsberg, Baltic Beverage Holdings (BBH), which made up 66% of Hartwell’s sales and 88% of profits. Hartwall said its share of BBH's net sales in the first half doubled on the year ago period to €321m. It said its share of BBH's operating profit surged 44% year-on-year to €77.8m.

BBH‘s results contrasted with Hartwall's domestic performance. The Finnish operations saw sales growth of 8.5% percent to €164m, with operating profit sinking to €10.5m due to investments in streamlining facilities.