Japanese bank Nomura International has upgraded shares of Tsingtao Brewery to "hold" from "reduce" on expectation of higher earnings.

Analysts at the bank have also raised the company's forecast 2002 net profits for Tsingtao by 21.3% to Y112.2m (US$13.55m) and 2003 net profits by 28.3% to Y128.7m.
The Chinese beer giant reported net profit for the first quarter in April, a surge of nearly 81%, thanks to the effects of what the company called vigorous marketing campaigns.

Tsingtao's unaudited net profit for the first three months of 2002 was ¥55.58m (US$6.7m), up from ¥30.79m in the same period last year. Meanwhile, turnover leapt 31.4% to ¥1.45 billion.
The figures represented the first time Tsingtao has reported first quarter results.

Despite the tough conditions, the company achieved higher sales of its leading brands. In a statement it said: "This was attributable to the more vigorous marketing and services of the company during the New Year and Chinese New Year holidays.