Campari's spirit, Czech beer, and Heineken's rugby fumble

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cent United kingdom Soft drink Heineken

In the latest news round-up, Campari remains in good spirits
despite a decline in soft drinks sales, Czech beer is on the rise
and brewer Heineken is still lost in translation over its Rugby
World Cup sponsorship.

Campari profits despite soft drink dip An unfavorable exchange rate and declining markets for soft drinks failed to dampen Campari's outlook for full year growth, as net sales rose 5.4 per cent for the first fiscal half.

Operating profit rose by 7.5 per cent to €124m for the six-month period ending 30 June.

Operating margins rose by 0.4 percentage points to 23.3 per cent on the back of company-wide drive for cost efficiency.

The performance of the group's spirits and whisky brands, most notably like Glen Grant and Old Smuggler, helped to offset some difficulties in Italy for soft drinks following the termination of a Lipton ice Tea contract in the country.

Italy remained the key market for growth for the company representing 43.7 per cent of total group sales.

Group chief executive officer Bob Kunze-Concewitz said the performance reflected the success of the group's strategy to acquire and boost its portfolio of high value spirits.

"In the first half of 2007 we achieved strong results across our brands and markets," he stated.

"Looking forward, we remain optimistic about a positive evolution of our business."

Spirits sales, which account for 72.3 per cent of the group's overall income were up by 10.2 per cent on an organic basis.

The group's wine brands posted 20.2 per cent organic growth, representing 12.2 per cent of total sales.

Howevet, Campari's soft drinks segment underwent decline with sales falling 20.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis due to the end of the Lipton agreement.

On organic terms though, sales improved by 5.2 per cent.

The drinks, which are sold almost entirely in Italy, represent 13 per cent of total company sales.

Czech brewers get beer boost Czech beer production could increase by three per cent to exceed 20m hectoliters of the product, on the back of warm weather and storn export sales during the first half of the year, according to press reports.

Czech Beer and Malt Association director Jan Vesely told the Czech News Agency that during the first six months of this year output from the country's brewers had reached 9.92 million hectolitres, a rise of 3.9 per cent.

He attributed the growth to the effects of warm weather on its domestic market and a 4.2 per cent rise in exports to 1.78m hectoliters of the country's beer.

Sponsorship stress for Heineken After having to remove alcoholic beverages from all French stadiums participating in this year's Rugby World Cup, tournament sponsor Heineken now faces calls to change some of its advertising .

French laws on licensing have forced the company to remove a number of promotions further raising difficulties.

Under France's laws stadiums are also banned from selling or advertising alcohol during sporting events.

Company spokesperson Vivi Hollert told that that the company had agreed to remove advertising from 250 French bars that linked the product with the tournament.

She added that they would continue to respond to calls by French authorities, but this would not reflect the company's continued sponsorship of major sporting events.

Related topics Markets Beer & cider Heineken

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