The Dutch brewer, Grolsch, has reported a net profit for the first half of 2003 of €12.7m (US$13.7m), up 6.7% from the first half of 2002. Earnings per share rose from €0.70 to €0.75.

Total turnover rose by 4.4% to €144.4 m (US$155.75m). Grolsch said that domestic beer sales had fallen but sales outside the Netherlands had increased. Operating profit rose by 4.5% to €17m (US$18.33m).

The results were ahead of analyts' forecasts which had been for a net profit in the region of €11.7m (US$12.78m).

Grolsch said it was expecting to post an increase in net profit for the full 2003 fiscal year from the €30.1m (US$32.46m) it recorded in 2002. The company said full-year operating profit for 2003 would be on a par with 2002, at around €42.6m (US$46m).