The Italian wines and spirits group, Davide Campari-Milano SpA, has reported a net profit for the first half of 2003 of €28.0m, down 12.6% from the first half of last year. The company blamed the downturn on higher tax costs and unfavourable exchange rates.

Campari said that on a like-for-like basis, excluding currency effects, the drop in net profit would have been 5.2%.

Sales rose by 8.5% to €332.7m, and would have been up by 16.7% on an exchange rate neutral basis.

Spirits sales increased by 11.6% to €217.8m on the back of growth for the CampariSoda, Ouzo 12 and Jagermeister brands and a new distribution deal for Tequila 1800 in the US. Wine sales rose by 6.9%, the company said.