San Miguel's Hong Kong unit has seen its losses in the first half of this year almost quadruple. The subsidiary said today (25 August) that consolidated net loss for the six months to 30 June was HK$12.415m (US$1.6m), compared with a loss of HK$3.519m in the corresponding period a year earlier.

In 2004, the company's results benefited from a tax refund of HK$6.101m from the prior year, for a comparable loss of HK$9.620m, the company added.

Turnover for the period increased, however, by 1.9% to HK$590.324m from HK$579.514m.

In a statement, San Miguel Brewery Hong Kong's chairman, Ramon S. Ang, said: "We achieved growth in revenues in both Hong Kong and China and at the same time made significant investment in our brands and substantial progress raising production efficiencies.

"Sales for our local brands remained strong, continuing the positive trend we have highlighted in previous quarters. Dragon Beer was the main beneficiary of this trend."

The directors today declared an interim dividend of one cent per share for the six-month period. The dividend will be payable on 30 September to shareholders of record on 19 September.