Anheuser-Busch has reported a 12% jump in profits during 2006 thanks to contributions from its stable of imported beers and growing sales overseas.

The Budweiser brewing giant posted net profit of US$1.9bn, a rise of 12.7% on the year. Revenues were up 4.5% to US$15.7bn, A-B said.

"2006 was a successful year for the company," said president and CEO August A. Busch IV yesterday (1 February)

"Growth momentum was restored in the domestic beer business (and) significant progress was made on several strategic initiatives to enhance shareholder value."

Domestic volumes inched up 1.2%, buoyed by first-time contributions from Tiger Beer and Dutch brand Grolsch, two brands for which A-B secured import rights in 2006.

Rising volumes from owned brands and licensing agreements in China, Canada and Mexico drove A-B's beer volumes up 9.3% outside the US. The brewer, however, saw volumes fall in the UK and Ireland.

Volumes outside the US were also boosted by rising sales at Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo and China's Tsingtao, two brewers in which A-B holds equity.