The Belgian-based brewing group, Interbrew, has reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €1.1 billion for the first nine months of the current fiscal year, 8.5% down from the corresponding period last year.

Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) stood at €581m, down by 15.1%. The figures for 2001 included contributions from the UK brewer, Carling, which was sold in February.

Net revenues for the same period were 3% down at €5.3 billion, while volumes were 2.5% lower at 66.6m hectolitres. The results were broadly in line with analysts' forecasts. The nine-month statement also included a previously announced €61m restructuring charge.

In spite of the drop for the nine months, Interbrew reiterated its optimistic forecast for the full year, saying it expected to post a profit of €1.50 per share before goodwill and restructuring costs for 2002. That would represent a 19% increase on a comparable 2001 figure stripping out any contribution from Carling. "Barring unforeseen circumstances Interbrew is on track to meet its objectives," the company said.

The company also published figures excluding contributions from Carling from the prior year which showed a 21% rise in EBITDA, EBIT up by 16.5%, net revenues up by 17.3% and volumes 16.8% higher. Interbrew reported that organic growth and market share were both up in key markets and said it sees 2002 as a transitional year after a series of acquisitions and the sale of Carling.