The Russian brewer Baltika has reported a 7.2% increase in net profits for 2004 to US$132m, boosted by better distribution and marketing, the company said.

Sales rose to US$994m from US$737.2m a year ago as the company began producing Foster's beer in Russian. Baltika was also boosted by the local output of Carlsberg brands.

Volumes were up 23% to 1.99 billion litres.

BBH - Baltika's parent - now expects the Russian market to expand by around 5% in 2005.

It was not all good news. Local press reported that tax authorities are demanding US$12.1m in taxes and fines from Baltika.