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FINLAND: Hartwall records record operating profits

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S&N takeover target Hartwall, today reported strong growth in 2001 profits, driven by strong demand in Eastern Europe. The Finnish brewer went on to say that the good performance should continue into 2002, with sales and operating profits rising again despite the economic uncertainty.

Shares in Finland's top brewery surged 16% to €29.32 after news of S&N' bid.
The company recorded profits before extraordinary items of €151m (US$132 million) in 2001, up from figures a year before last year of €94.9m. The brewer also said that it was reporting its best operating profit in its history.

Sales, meanwhile, rose 32% to €807.6m.

Hartwall's owns a 50% share in Baltic Beverages Holding (BBH), Russia's largest beer producer. Carlsberg owns the other 50%.

"Market growth is expected to remain strong in BBH's market areas, particularly Russia and Ukraine, albeit slower than in the report year," Hartwall said.


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