Compania de Cervecerias Unidas has posted a healthy increase in net profit for 2006.

The Chilean beer and soft drinks company said net profit last year came in 13.5% up on 2005 at CLP55.8bn (US$101.6m).

In revenue terms, CCU boasted an 8.6% increase for the year, to CLP545bn. The climb, driven by strong Argentinean beer sales, was hampered, however, by an 11% slide in wine sales.

"The year 2006 marked new records for CCU," said company CEO Patricio Jottar. "Volumes reached 13.4m hectolitres, consolidated revenues grew to CLP545bn, operating income increased to CLP79bn and EBITDA to CLP121bn."

Jointly-owned by Chilean industrial and financial group Quinenco and Dutch brewer Heineken, CCU is the biggest brewer in Chile and the second-largest brewer in Argentina.

The company also operates as the exclusive producer and/or distributor of Budweiser, Paulaner, Austral, and Kunstmann beer brands.