Grupo Modelo has posted a slight lift in full-year net profit, as rising commodity costs made their presence felt.

The Mexico-based brewer, which owns the Corona Extra beer brand, said yesterday (21 February) that net profit for the 12 months to the end of December rose by 5.6% on 2006, coming in at MXN9.50bn (US$879.6m). Total sales delivered a higher rise, meanwhile, climbing by 23.6% year-on-year to MXN72.89bn. Net export sales of Modelo's beers soared in the year, up 77.2% in value terms to MXN30.75bn, although the company was at pains to point out that export figures were non-comparable, due to a change in reporting status.

Operating income in 2007 leapt by 22.1% to MXN20.59bn. In volume terms, total sales, both at home and abroad, were up by 3.4% to 51.54m hectolitres.

Modelo noted, however, that the cost of goods last year climbed by 22.5%, due in part to costs related to its Crown Imports joint venture in the US, as well as higher raw material and packaging expenses.

For the fourth quarter, net income slipped by 2.3% to MXN1.68bn, although total sales increased by 20.1% to MXN17.29bn. Operating profit was up by 12.7% to 3.95bn in the three-month period, compared to the corresponding quarter a year earlier. The company saw price rises, introduced at the end of the second quarter, hit volumes abroad, which dropped by 6% in the three-month period.

In January last year, Modelo's joint venture with Constellation Brands in the US, Crown Imports, began operations. The unit handles the importing and distribution of Modelo's portfolio in the US.

As well as owning several beer brands, Modelo also has a strategic alliance with Nestle Waters, whereby the company produces and distributes Nestle's Santa Maria and Pureza Vital bottled water brands in Mexico.