InBev has released its figures for H1 of this year. In its last set of figures before its merger with AmBev, the Belgian brewer saw net profits for the six-month period rise by almost 20% year-on-year to €205m from €171m.

Although the cool summer in Europe hit sales in June and July, worldwide volume for the half rose by 5.5% to 54.7m hectoliters, while net turnover increased by 7% to €3.5 bln.

Strong performances by Beck's and Stella Artois stymied the effect of the bad weather, with the brands' global volume rising by 14.6% and 6.2% respectively.

In a statement, InBev's CEO, John Brock, said: "InBev's strong organic volume and profit growth, and its significant increase in EPS for the first half of 2004, are the direct result of solid brand-marketing programs, coupled with superior sales execution in the marketplace. Especially encouraging is the development of our global flagship brands, Stella Artois and Beck's."

The company recorded particular success in Russia, where domestic volume increased by 33%, versus a market growth of 15%. Consequently, market share reached a record level of 16.4% in the first half of 2004, with InBev's premium brand, Sibirskaya Korona, outperforming the segment, with volume growth of 86%. There were also strong performances from InBev's international brand portfolio, with Stella Artois volumes up by 58% and Staropramen by 121%.

InBev continues to expect organic volume of between 4% and 5% for 2004, in line with targets stated in March this year.