Canadian brewer, Sleeman Breweries Ltd., has reported a 26% rise in net income for 2002 to C$12.3m, or C$0.77 per share on a diluted basis.

Sleeman posted net revenues of C$37.8m for the fourth quarter of 2002, up 10% from the fourth quarter of 2001, on the back of an 8% increase volumes.

Net revenues for the year rose by 11% to C$157.1m, with total volumes for the year rising by 10% to 1.12m hls. EBITDA for the full year was 5% higher at C$29.9m.

"In 2002, Sleeman strengthened its complete offering across the premium domestic, value and import brand segments, and we were rewarded with significant volume growth that outpaced the industry at large, which grew at less than 1%," said Sleeman's chairman and CEO, John Sleeman. "If not for an unexpected tax increase in Alberta, which lowered our revenues and EBITDA by approximately C$4.0m in the year, our earnings growth would have been significantly higher. We have exciting marketing and advertising plans for 2003, which we expect will drive sales momentum and profitability as we pursue our strategic plan."

Fourth-quarter net income reached C$2m, C$0.12 per share on a diluted basis, against C$2.2m, or C$0.14 per share in the fourth quarter of 2001.