Interbrew will launch its flagship brand Stella Artois in the Russian market from April, CEO Hugo Powell told analysts in Brussels today.

Announcing Interbrew's results, he praised the brand's amazing success over the past decade, which saw compound growth of 8% from 1990-1998 and has increased its market share in over 50 markets this year. Worldwide, it has sold more than 7.3m hectolitres (hl) and in its largest market, the UK, it increased this year from 3.6m hl to 4m hl.

Powell said the brand would be introduced to the on-trade in Moscow from April this year. Russia is one of the key emerging markets for the Belgian brewer and the strategy of "local brands for organic growth" is beginning to pay dividends. Investment in its Klin brewery has created "one of the most sophisticated and efficient production operations in the world," according to Powell, and Interbrew's Russian brands Klinskaye, Siberia Crown and Tolstiak increased volumes and margins through price rises.

Klinskaye volume was up 14% with a 49% price increase; Siberia Crown rose 64% in volume with a 40% price increase; and Tolstiak lept an impressive 70% with a staggering 79% price hike.

Overall, emerging markets saw growth up 23% with EBITDA reaching 76%. Powell said Interbrew's acquisition regime had helped drive the growth, based on a ratio of 60% through acquisitions and 40% due to organic growth.

Central Europe had strong performance except for Bulgaria, with turnover high in Croatia and the Czech Republic, where Interbrew increased its stake in Prague Breweries last year to 97%. Prague Breweries holds 13% of the country's market share.

Asia saw 50% organic growth, with Korea the rising star. The "process of integration" of one of its acquisitions in Korea was "not complete", said Powell, and the policy was now to "fight for value creation by margin expansion."