Sun Interbrew has seen its sales volumes surge by 96% in the Ukraine in January, a senior executive said yesterday.

The Russian brewer's chief executive, Joseph Strella, told Dow Jones Newswires that the rise was thanks to unseasonably warm temperatures and the introduction of a new wholesale distribution system.

Strella also tried to diffuse rumours the company's 38% market share would come under threat should President Viktor Yushchenko liberalise the market to allow more foreign competition.

In Russia, the company is expecting 4.5% and 6.5% volume growth for the whole market this year, Strella said. He added that Sun Interbrew hopes to outperform the market in general.