Orkla, the Norwegian group which owns a 40% stake in Carlsberg Breweries, reported today that operating profit fell by a bigger-than-expected 10% in the second quarter. The company said it was affected by the strong Norwegian crown.

But the company also said that it expected higher 2002 earnings from beer in a partnership with Carlsberg compared to 2001.

Operating profit fell to 954m Norwegian crowns (US$123.2 million) in the three months to June 30 from 1.05 billion in the same period of 2001. Meanwhile net profit fell to 787m crowns from 1.09 billion. 

But Orkla said both underlying revenues and operating  profits were up two percent from the second quarter of 2001,  excluding the impact of the crown which hit repeated highs
against the euro this year.

"We expect increased uncertainty in the general economy, and considerable risks in financial markets," chief executive Finn Jebsen said of the outlook.

Carlsberg Breweries, would raise profits from beer in 2002, the company statement said.