The Japanese brewing group, Kirin Brewery Co., posted net profit of Y30.86 billion for the period from January to September 2002, up 29% on the corresponding profit figure last year of Y23.88 billion.

Operating profit rose from Y61.93 billion to Y77.86 billion, while pret-tax profit rose from Y59.12 billion to Y73.34 billion. Turnover rose by 0.9% from Y1.162 trillion to Y1.172 trillion.

The group attributed the rise in profitability to the beneficial impact of cost-cutting programmes. The performance over the nine-month period contrasts favourably with the company's performance in the first half of the year. Group sales for the January-June period decreased by 2.7% to Y727.89 billion, while group operating profit fell by 6.6% to Y33.80 billion.

Beer sales fell by 7.1% in the first half, but for the nine-month period were only slightly down, a Kirin spokesman said. In addition, beer sales in the July to September period were 10% up year-on-year.