Anheuser-Busch InBev has reported rises in sales and profits and healthy progress on synergies in the first half of 2009, beating several analysts' expectations.

Net sales for the six months to the end of June rose by 3% on an organic basis, to US$17.7bn, compared to equivalent operations in the same period of 2008.

Half-year net profits were $1.8bn, against a reported $1.2bn a year earlier, with beer volume sales flat at 200.3m hectolitres, the brewer said today (13 August).

Net sales in the second quarter rose 1.4% to $9.5bn on an organic basis. 

Analysts reacted positively to the results, which also included growth in earnings before tax and interest of 27% for the half-year, due to supply chain cost savings, higher pricing and market share gains in key markets.

Synergies from InBev's $52bn takeover of A-B at the end of last year also continued apace.

"The integration of Anheuser-Busch continues to run in line with or ahead of plan," said group CEO Carlos Brito. "We delivered $315m of synergies in the second quarter 2009, bringing our first half 2009 total to $610m."

The brewer said it has already repaid the $7bn bridge loan taken out to fund the A-B acquisition and due in November.

It achieved $3.5bn of assets disposals in the first half of 2009 and said that it continues to aim for $7bn of assets disposals as part of the integration of A-B.

For the full announcement, click here.

For A-B InBev Q1 results, click here.

An update, following the brewer's results conference call, appear here.