Royal Grolsch N.V. has posted a slight dip in H1 net profit. The Dutch brewer said today (7 September) that net profit for the six months to 30 June reached €7.4m (US$9.23m), compared to €8.2m in the corresponding period a year earlier. Net turnover also fell, to €147.2m from €151.9m in the first half of 2004.

"The first half of 2005 showed lower volumes in the Netherlands and the UK and higher trading discounts in the retail segment, partially offset by good growth in other international core markets as well as acquisitions," Grolsch said in a statement. "This led to a 3.1% diminution in net turnover."

"So far, 2005 has been dominated by increased pressure on consumer prices in the Netherlands, and on Grolsch's net price levels, as a result of the supermarket price war," the statement continued. "In the first six months of the year, Grolsch narrowly maintained its share of a shrinking Dutch market, partly through continuing growth in the on-trade segment. A new advertising campaign was launched in February, with the slogan 'Beer the Grolsch way'. The new beer, Grolsch Premium Blond, was introduced in early June, with its own campaign. In the UK, Grolsch took a restrained line on joining the extreme price competition in the first half of 2005, resulting in negative volume growth. However, growth of 12% was achieved in the other core markets (the US, Canada, France, Australia and New Zealand) in the first half of 2005, in line with the sharpened focus strategy."

Looking forward, the brewer said that it expects volumes in the Dutch beer market to be lower in 2005 as a whole, though it expects to be able to maintain its share of this market. Higher trading discounts will also have a negative impact on the full-year turnover and profit.

Internationally, Grolsch said that it is confident that, by the end of the year, the negative volume trend in the UK to the end of June will reverse, leading to a growth situation. "Growth is expected to continue in the other core markets, so that Grolsch's international activities will show clear overall growth," the company said. Movements in the US dollar exchange rate are expected to have a negative pre-tax effect of an estimated €1.5m on the full-year results for 2005.