Royal Grolsch NV has had its shares downgraded after yesterday's (7 September) disappointing H1 figures. The Dutch brewer said yesterday that net profit for the first six months of this year fell to €7.4m (US$9.23m) from €8.2m a year earlier.

Fortis Bank has subsequently shifted its recommendation to 'hold' from 'buy.' The broker said that it has little confidence that the Dutch off-trade market will soon pick up or that the UK market will return to double-digit growth in the second half as Grolsch's management predicts.

Fortis also lowered its EPS estimates for 2006-2007 and reduced its price target to €25 from €27. Although the brewer remains a potential takeover target, the broker said it believes this will only come about if the share price drops further.