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E-Malt.com News article: 3234

Netherlands: Royal Grolsch N.V. has posted net profit for the first half of 2004 in line with the forecast given at the beginning of this year. The company’s net turnover was 5.2% higher in the six-month period, at ˆ152m, largely due to the acquisition of a Dutch beverage wholesaler. Price pressures and exchange effects prevented the modest volume growth in international markets having more than a limited effect on turnover, however, the brewer said yesterday.

The first phase of the efficiency-improvement project, involving the amalgamation of Grolsch’s two old breweries into a single new production facility, has been completed. The opening of the new brewery is also reflected, however, in a ˆ2.8m increase in depreciation and a 14.9% lower operating profit, down from ˆ17m to ˆ14.5m.

Net profit after-tax profit on ordinary operations was down by 29.9% at ˆ8.9m, while earnings per share declined to ˆ0.53 (2003: ˆ0.75).

Going forward, with the Dutch beer market forecast to decline in volume terms over the full year, Grolsch is expecting to gain market share, while the markets outside the Netherlands are expected to grow faster in the second half of 2004 than the first half. The full-year operating profit will be adversely affected by exchange-rate movements, however.

Grolsch expects a similar percentage decline in net profit over the full year as that in the first half of 2004.

10 September, 2004

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