The Canadian brewer Molson has seen its Brazilian operations drive earnings for the third quarter up 49%. The results were despite a toughening market at home.

Molson acquired Brazil's Kaiser brewery in March 2002. And the business helped Molson earn C$67.0m (US$44.1m), or 52 Canadian cents a share, for the quarter, up from C$45.0m in the period a year earlier.

Daniel J. O'Neill, president and chief executive said: "(Brazil) is reducing the seasonality of our results, and the equipment upgrades made in the Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto breweries are delivering cost and production efficiencies."

"Operationally, the share performance in Canada is lower than expected. However, plans are in place to address this weakness and to strengthen our brand portfolios and market share as we move towards next summer and the years ahead," he said.

The company has also revised its 2003 forecasts, increasing its estimates for earnings per share to between C$2.10 and C$2.15. It had been predicting C$1.95 to C$2.00 a share.

"We are well ahead of our target in 2003," said O'Neill.