The Japanese beverage group, Ito En Ltd., has posted a group net profit of Y4,440m for the six months to the end of October, representing a 14.8% rise from the corresponding period last year.

The company attributed the profit rise partially to a Y1,022m reduction in appraisal losses on securities holdings.

Sales for the six-month period rose by 5.8% to Y115.11 billion. The company has reduced its profit forecast for the full year to the end of March 2003 because of slower-than-expect earnings growth in the US. It now estimates it will post a group net profit of Y7,770m, 15.1% higher than last year, on sales 7% up at Y219.07 billion. Operating profit is expected to rise by 4.3% to Y15.8 billion.