Baltic Beverage Holding, the Russian-based brewer owned by Carlsberg and S&N, has seen a strong improvement in volumes in the second quarter of the year, compared to the first, the company said today. And it said it remains confident that full year volumes for the Russian market will show high single digit growth.

The company said that in Russia, changes to Baltika's distribution network, initiated during the low season were largely completed, and led to a much improved performance in the second quarter.

BBH saw first-half sales fell 14% to €552m (US$623m). However, in the second-quarter beer volumes clawed back from a poor first quarter, with the key Russian volumes rising 10%. In the first quarter Russian volumes had fallen 3%.

BBH maintained its forecast for volume growth of 8% to 9% for the Russian beer market in 2003.

In a statement the company said: "The second quarter, as anticipated, showed a strong improvement in volume trends from the first quarter, both within BBH and the market as a whole. BBH remains confident that full year volumes for the Russian market will show high single-digit growth."