SABMiller's ally in China has toasted a set of buoyant figures for 2005 with profits from its drinks business up 30%.

Chinese conglomerate China Resources Enterprise, SABMiller's venture partner in the country's second-largest brewer China Resources Breweries (CRB), said yetserday (6 April) that profits from its beer arm reached HK$136m (US$17.5m) last year.

CRB, which owns 41 breweries in China, saw beer volumes rise 26% and 15% on an organic basis. Sales of the company's flagship brand, Snow, leapt 47% to almost 15.8m hectolitres - representing 40% of CRB's volumes. The jump in sales propels Snow into the world's top 10 beer brands, according to figures from market analysts Plato Logic.

A spokesman for SABMiller in London told just-drinks: "The reason for the growth in Snow has been our established footprint in key areas of China and the emphasis on marketing Snow as a Chinese national brand."

Earlier this week, the country's largest brewer Tsingtao reported core beer volumes of 13.3m hectolitres for 2005.

SABMiller owns a 49% stake in CRB with the remainder held by China Resources Enterprise.