A third Japanese brewer has reported growth in the first half of the year. Kirin Brewery Co, the nations second largest beer producer, said today that group net profit rose 2.1% to ¥14.23 billion from Y13.93 billion in the same six-month period a year ago.

Group sales were up 3.6% to ¥759.45 billion.

The results were driven by good performances by two of the company's drinks units, Kirin Beverage Corp and Australasian beer and wine group Lion Nathan Ltd.

However, the company is still suffering from the recent tax hike on low-malt beer happoshu. Kirin is the country's number one producer of happoshu.

In the first half, Kirin's parent-only regular beer sales in volume terms fell 3.5% on year, while its happoshu sales fell a hefty 9.9%.

As a result of the "steep" fall in sales, the company cut its full-year outlook for growth in beer and happoshu, to a 0.1% rise compared with the 2.2% growth it had forecast previously.

For the full year group sales estimates were downgraded to ¥1.680 trillion from ¥1.700 trillion.

However, group profit estimates for the full year were left unchanged with a 33% rise in group net profit to ¥43 billion expected.