Baltika, Russia's largest brewery, saw sales grow at over twice the size of the country's beer market in 2005, the company reported today (16 March).

Baltika, the largest brewer in the Baltic Beverages Holding joint venture, saw domestic beers sales grow by 13.1% to 22.4m hectolitres last year. The Russian beer market, it said, enjoyed volume growth of 6%. Net sales rose by 22.2% to EUR977.2m (US$1.2bn) on the back of a 37.6% jump in EBITDA to EUR302.9m (US$365.6m).

Baltika president Anton Artemiev said the start of the brewer's integration with fellow BBH-owned breweries Vena and Pikra had contributed to its growth last year.

"2005 results gave Baltika nearly one quarter of the Russian beer market. Despite rising competition, Baltika not only preserved but actually strengthened its leadership.

"The success of 2005 confirms the correctness of the strategy that has been chosen, the merger with VENA, Yarpivo and Pikra. We confidently look to the future and intend to proceed in the chosen direction during 2006 as well."

Sales of the Baltika brand rose 11.5% while the company's Arsenalnoye brand outperformed Russia's stagnant economy segment with sales growth of 6.2%. The growth of the two brands took Baltika's share of the Russian market to over 24%. Exports rose 23%, Baltika added.