ESTONIA: Premium beer sales drive Saku earnings
Estonia's biggest brewer Saku Olletehas saw rising premium beer sales drive full-year earnings in 2005.
The brewer late last week posted a 50% leap in net profit last year to EST75m (US$5.7m). Group sales volumes were up nearly 20% to 80.8m litres.
Saku Olletehas said sales were up due to the launch of premium brand Saku Kuld, or Saku Gold.
"The brand surpassed its sales targets almost three-fold and quickly became one of the main growth drivers of the last quarter where it seized 10% of the premium segment," the company said.
Saku Olletehas is the leader of the Estonian beer market, with a market share of 44.8%. The Estonian market grew by almost 14% last year. Saku Olletehas exports 20% of its production to its neighbouring Baltic states - Latvia and Lithuania - as well as Finland and Sweden.
The brewer also controls 31.5% of the Estonian cider market and 11% of the country's bottled water category.
Beer sales accounted for almost 79% of the group's revenues but the company said it would continue to diversify its brand portfolio to drive sales growth.
While governments in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have acted in response to high levels of alcohol consumption and binge-drinking, Euromonitor International observes that growth in the premium lager ...
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