Australian soft drinks group, Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA), recorded a 21.9% increase in net profit from its ongoing businesses in the six months to 28 June from A$77.3m to A$94.2m.

The first-half net profit growth was double the market forecasts which had been for around A$85m. The comparative figure of A$77.3m excludes the earnings from Amatil's Philippines operations which were sold in April 2001. Sales rose by 1.7% to A$1.6 billion.

Amatil said that it was on target to increase its full year net profit by 10% to 15%. "Based on current trading conditions in each of our markets, CCA reaffirms its previous guidance for full year 2002 net profit growth, before significant items, to be at the upper end of the management's three-year annual growth target of 10% to 15%," the company said. That would put 2002 net profit at between A$188m and A$197m, against A$171m last year.

Amatil said one of the prime reasons behind the first-half profit increase was 145% earnings growth from South Korea. The company said its South Korean earnings before interest and tax rose from A$14m to A$34.6m.

EBIT in the mature Australian market, which with New Zealand accounts for 70% of the company's business, rose by 4.6% bolstered by strong cost controls as sales slipped by 0.5%.

However, the company conceded that its performance in Indonesia had been disappointing. EBIT fell by 52% to A$9.3m which Amatil attributed to flooding in Java during the summer and low consumer confidence.