Quilmes Industrial (Quinsa) today reported an increase in its full year beer volumes of 7.8% to 15,376,000 hectoliters, reflecting strong volume growth in most of its markets, with the exception of Chile, where it stopped selling the Heineken brand in June 2003.

Beer volume growth was particularly strong in Paraguay and Uruguay, both markets that had suffered large volume declines in 2003. Bolivia and Argentina also posted solid growth. Soft drink volumes increased 11.1% to 6,770,000 hectoliters as a result of continued market growth in Argentina, and of a strong recovery in Uruguay.

Net sales were also up to US$ 765.2m compared to US$ 622.7m for the same period in 2003. This was principally the result of higher pricing, particularly in Argentina. Also contributing to the increase in revenues were the higher volumes in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The rises led to gross profit for full year 2004 of US$ 410.7m, a 36% increase on the US$ 301.4m of 2003.

The company said this was principally the result of a substantial increase in revenues, and also of cost savings due to improvements in industrial efficiency. Gross margin for 2004 fiscal year was 53.7%, compared to 48.4% in 2003.

Net income for 2004 was US$59.0m, or US$0.523 per share, compared to US$36.8m, or US$0.291 per share for 2003.

Quinsa is a Luxembourg-based holding company that controls 87.6% of Quilmes International (Bermuda) (QIB). The remaining stake is held by Beverage Associates (BAC) Corp. (BAC) and by Companhia de Bebidas das Americas or AmBev.