China’s largest brewer Tsingtao Brewery saw its share price fall 5% today as it revealed that the outbreak of the SARS virus would hurt second quarter results.
Though the company reported a slight rise in first quarter net profits it said: “Because of uncertainty over the control of the SARS epidemic, the market prospect in the second quarter is expected to be more grim.”
SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, has hit China hard, particularly in the capital of Beijing and in Hong Kong.
Tsingtao reported an unaudited first-quarter net profit of ¥59.7m (US$7.21m) compared to ¥55.6m a year earlier. Sales meanwhile were up 11% to 630,000 kilolitres. It added that the first quarter is usually a slack season for beer sales in China.
Tsingtao had previously expected turnover to rise some 13% in 2003.
Last year the US-based Anheuser-Busch took a 27% stake in Tsingtao.