Quilmes Industrial (Quinsa) said today (11 August) that it saw a 26% rise in its first half EBITDA, as beer volumes increased in the high single digits.

The Luxembourg-based company, which operates beer and soft drinks businesses in Latin America, reported EBITDA of US$172.5m, up from US$137.2m a year earlier, while EBITDA margin improved 1.3% points to 40.5%.

Beer sales volumes increased 8.0% to 7.8m hectolitres. Soft drink and water sales volumes increased 22.5% to 3.8m hl.

Net profit after tax was US$49.4m, or US$0.442 per share, compared to US$34.6m, or US$0.282 per share, for the first half of 2004.

In Argentina, beer volumes including exports, increased by 6% compared to the first half of 2004, reaching 5.3m hl. Soft drinks volumes and other beverages increased 22.4% to 3,605,000 hl, compared to the first half of 2004. This performance was the result of both market expansion and market share growth.

In Bolivia, domestic volume sales increased by 8.2% during the first half of 2005, reaching 1,000,000 hl.

In Chile, Quinsa's domestic beer volumes increased by 25.1% to 219,000 hl. Net revenues increased to US$13.2m, compared to US$10.8m last year. This was principally the result of an increase in volume sales, since prices in dollar terms declined approximately 2%.

In Paraguay, Quinsa continued to experience the recovery that had started during the fourth quarter of 2003, with volumes increasing by 13.8% to 988,000 hl. The improvement was the result of a more favourable economic climate and also of the conservative price policy followed by the company.
 
Net revenues increased 15.8% to US$ 49m, principally as a result of higher volume sales, a better brand mix (Brahma has nearly doubled its share, reaching 43.5%), and a 6% price increase introduced in November 2004 - the first increase in two years.

The company said that the Uruguayan economy has continued to perform solidly, leading to an increase in domestic beer volume sales of more than 16%. Net revenues increased to US$22m compared to US$15.1m last year, principally due to an increase in beer volumes and prices.