Danish brewer Royal Unibrew has seen pre-tax profits fall 11% during the first half of the year.

The company today reported pre-tax profit of DKK49m (US$8.4m), despite a 7% rise in net revenues to DKK1.6bn. Operating profit was down 7% to DKK60.6m.

Royal Unibrew blamed the fall in profits on rising sales and distribution costs, which rose 8% during the first half of the year. The brewer pointed to the launch of its Egekilde mineral water brand and continued investment behind its core beer brands, including Ceres Strong Ale and Faxe, for the hike in marketing expenditure.

The brewer saw its sales in Western Europe rise 3.6% to DKK1.2bn, while sales in Denmark were flat. However, domestic sales of its soft drink brands saw something of a revival with sales up 5%.

In Eastern Europe, where Royal Unibrew owns beer and soft drink interests in Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, sales soared 21% to DKK323.2m.

Beer sales in the Baltic continued to rise, while the company's results in Poland were boosted by the inclusion of sales of its Brok-Strzelec subsidiary for the first time.