ING Barings has downgraded its rating on the international brewing combine, Interbrew, from "buy" to "hold" following the publication of the group's first-half profits which came in below expectations. The group posted a net profit of €165m, down 18% from last year.

"In 2002-2003, re-engineering for sustainable growth will create further exceptionals, but the benefits should be seen in 2004. Due to the weak outlook for 2002-2003, we downgrade to 'hold'," ING said in a research note. The bank also cut its target-price for Interbrew from €31.5 to €27.