United Breweries profits soar in H1

United Breweries' profits soar in H1

United Breweries has outperformed the Indian beer market and doubled profits in the first half of its fiscal year.

Beer sales surged by 28% in volume for the six months to the end of September, United Breweries said today (29 October). The rise indicates a slowdown in the second quarter, after first quarter volumes shot up by 36%, but the brewer was still ahead of India's beer market, which expanded by 24% over the half-year period.

Net profits for the six months reached INR981m (US$22m), 108% up on the same period of last year and more than the brewer reported for its entire last fiscal year.

The firm said that it extended its lead on the fledgling Indian beer market. "Kingfisher Premium has added about 3% market share, notwithstanding the fierce efforts from international brewers to gain share," said United Breweries, which is 37.5%-owned by Heineken and controlled by Vijay Mallya's UB Group.

Profits were partly boosted by lower interest payments. The firm said it had implemented a new working capital scheme that significantly enhanced its cash conversion rate and lowered interest costs.

United Breweries has also launhced a patented bottle to help distinguish itself from rivals, such as SABMiller.

Yesterday, United Breweries' sister company, United Spirits, also reported a strong half-year sales rise, although profits were held back by a disappointing first quarter.