Russian food and drinks group Wimm-Bill-Dann has reported a 17.5% increase in sales in the first half of 2005 to US$681.7m from US$580.4m in the first six months of 2004.

The company reported that gross profit in the six-month period had risen by 16.7%, while gross margins were flat at 27.5%.

The company's EBITDA, adjusted for interest income, currency remeasurement gains, bank charges and other financial expenses and minority interest, rose by 11.4% from US$50.8m to US$56.6m.

Sales in its drinks division, which produces and markets juices and water, rose by 5.4% from US$151.3m to US$159.5m, with average prices increasing by 9.4%. Gross margins from beverages rose to 36.0% in the first half of 2005 from 35.3% in the first six months of 2004.