The Hong Kong arm of the Philippine brewing giant San Miguel, has been hit financially by the outbreak of the SARS virus, as beer sales have fallen.

San Miguel Brewery Hong Kong Ltd said its first half net profit will be significantly lower compared with the year-earlier HK$13.134m due to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) crisis.

It said that that beer sales had fallen since the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Hong Kong and South China and sales for the first four months were less than the same period in 2002.

"If the epidemic continues beyond June 2003, the company's profit results for the six months to June 30 2003 may be significantly less than that for the six months to June 30 2002," it said.