Scottish & Newcastle, the UK's largest brewer, has seen its Eastern European venture and its business in Asia help the company deliver "robust" results for the third quarter.

The brewer said today (7 November) that rising volumes in Russia and India have boosted the business, while it has gained share in a "difficult" UK beer market.

In Russia, Baltic Beverages Holding, S&N's venture with Carlsberg, saw volumes jump 16% in July and August. For the three months to the end of September, India's United Breweries, in which S&N holds a 37.5% stake, saw volumes leap 32.4%.

S&N said beer sales in the UK slumped almost 7% during the third quarter due to "a more depressed consumer environment". However, the brewer said that its branded sales had inched up 0.6% with Strongbow performing "particularly well".

S&N said it had seen "good progress" outside the UK although weak consumer confidence in France was still weighing on the country's beer market.

The company said branded volumes in France were up 5.7%, although its overall results in France during the quarter were hit by the restructuring of its wholesale business.

S&N also announced that Yves Couette, an executive at Unilever, would join the company later this month as managing director of S&N France.

S&N's branded volumes in Finland slumped almost 9% as the company adopted a "very firm" stance on prices in a beer market characterised by fierce price competition.

In Portugal, S&N saw branded volumes rise 7.1% due to rising sales of flagship brand Sagres. The brewer's performance in Belgium was mixed, however, with branded sales up in the on-trade but down in the off-premise.