The Belgian brewer Interbrew has indicated that core profits for the year may come in below consensus forecasts, because of pension costs and foreign exchange discrepancies.

Interbrew spoke to analysts yesterday, updating them on its targets and performance for the year. The brewer reportedly is seeing its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) coming on target and earnings on a per-share basis reaching €1.5.

Interbrew confirmed it spoke to analysts but declined further comment.

Talking to Reuters, one analyst said: ""There is weaker cash flow but the EPS (earnings per share) is in line."

The consensus for 2002 core profits or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) before restructuring of its UK operations had been at around €1.5 billion, but the brewer reportedly told the analysts it expected it to be about €1.4 billion.

It blamed higher pension costs due to the market downturn as well as a strong euro against the Russia rouble and the Canadian dollar.