Japan's beer to whisky company Suntory has reported a 27% leap in group operating profit to ¥31.44 billion. Net profit rose a more moderate 2.2% to ¥5.77 billion.

The jump was achieved despite a fall in group sales by 2.9% ¥658.70 billion, due to the exclusion of a liquor wholesale subsidiary from its consolidated earnings report.

However the success of efforts to streamline operations and cut costs countered this fall.

Liquor sector sales, including whisky and beer, fell 0.2% to ¥269.6 billion, where strong beer sales failed to counter weak demand for whisky and other liquor for use in restaurants.

Beer sales in volume terms came to a record high 26.77 million cases during the first half, up 4% on year, as its low-priced, low-malt beer attracted price-sensitive consumers.