Baltic Beverages Holding AB (BBH) reports volume growth in the first quarter. The total sales volumes grew by 71% compared with the same period in 1999, from 198 million litres to 339 million litres. Growth from acquisitions accounted for approximately 10 percentage points of the total growth.

Volumes in Russia grew by 75% from 157 million litres to 275 million litres. According to latest estimates, BBH’s share of the Russian beer market has increased from 23% at the end of 1999 to approximately 25%. In the Ukraine BBH’s sales volume doubled from 13 million litres to 27 million litres. In the Ukraine, acquisitions accounted for 20 % of the growth. In the Baltic countries, sales grew from 28 million litres to 38 million litres, i.e. 35%.

The strong growth in the first quarter is attributable to market growth and increases in BBH’s production and distribution capacity. When evaluating the outlook for the rest of the year, one should take into account the seasonality of the business, the market development during the remainder of the year as well as the growth opportunities offered by BBH’s available capacity. The company estimates that the growth rate during the rest of the year will slow down substantially compared to the first quarter.

Hartwall and the Swedish-Norwegian company Pripps Ringnes own BBH on a 50-50 basis. BBH currently has a total of twelve breweries: four in the Baltic countries, six in Russia and two in Ukraine. BBH is also a shareholder in eight malt houses. In 1999, BBH had net sales of SEK 3.3 billion and operating profit of SEK 0.9 billion; the total production volume of BBH’s breweries rose to 1,278 million litres. BBH employs over 9 000 people.

Orkla ASA and Oyj Hartwall Abp will publish the interim reports for January-April 2000 on the 30th of May 2000 at 0800 hours Norwegian time.