Despite difficult trading conditions, Amalgamated Beverage Industries Ltd (ABI), a subsidiary of brewing giant South African Breweries (SAB), has reported a 3% rise in volume growth to 4.61m hectolitres for the first half of the year.

Reporting its interim results for the six months ended 30th September 2001, ABI said trading profit increased by 35%, while attributable earnings per share rose 35% and both headline earnings and dividends per share climbed 18%.

Mainstream carbonated soft drink sales also grew compared to the previous period, aided by the sales of new products, which while still small, said ABI, are growing rapidly and make up 3% of total volume.

But even though ABI expect the positive sales trend of the first six months to continue during the remainder of the year, a shift in consumer preference from cans to bottles saw volumes of ABI's associate company Coca-Cola Canners decline said ABI, resulting in lower earnings and dividend income.

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