The head of Sleeman Breweries believes the Canadian brewer has turned the corner after seeing profits rise during the second quarter of the year.

John Sleeman, chairman and CEO of Canada's third-largest brewer, said the company had succeeded in reducing costs and boosting beer volumes during the three-month period.

Net profit reached C$3.5m (US$3.1m), up from C$2.5m last year while revenues inched up 1% due to increased sales of Sleeman's "value" brands.

Mr. Sleeman said: "We are confident that the second quarter of 2006 marked the turning point for Sleeman as we execute the strategies to return the company to sustainable profit growth. We will continue to focus on these strategies as we strive to deliver continuing improvements in our volume, operating and financial performance."

Sleeman is in the middle of a strategic review of the business after seeing profits hit by the popularity of discount and import beers in Canada.

Four brewers, including domestic rivals Molson and Labatt have been linked with a bid to buy Sleeman, although all potential suitors have refused to be drawn on any interest in Sleeman.

The brewer would only say that the review was continuing and that an announcement on the future direction of the company would be made "at the appropriate time".

During the first six months of the year, Sleeman saw operating profit dip to C$12m from C$14m a year earlier despite a 1% increase in revenues.