The Russian brewer Vena is expecting to report a net profit in 2003 thanks to good sales, having reported a net loss of 441 million rubles (US$14.57m) last year.

Vena, which is co-owned by Carlsberg and Scottish & Newcastle, has seen its sales rise 19% in the months January to September, compared to only 4% for the whole market.

"If Vena continues to increase sales this way, we have every chance of reporting a net profit by the end of the year," said chief executive Pyotr Chernyshev.

The sales increase is primarily down to the success of the premium brand Nevskoye, which was up 18%, and Tuborg, which the company brews under licence, which was up 32% in the period.