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Pivovarna Lasko Nearly Doubles Net Profit in First Half

Lasko, 24 August (STA) - The group around beverage maker Pivovarna Lasko generated EUR 11m in net profit in the first six months of 2011, nearly doubling the amount from the same period of last year, when it posted a net profit of EUR 6.2m.

The supervisory boards of Pivovarna Lasko and its subsidiary Pivovarna Union discussed the results on Wednesday, labelling the group's operations in the first half of the year as good.

Meanwhile, the supervisors did not discuss a takeover bid from KS Nalozbe, as was expected.

Pivovarna Lasko management member Mirjam Hocevar told the press that operating profit of the group was up 3% to EUR 14.8m in the first half of the year.

The group's net revenues amounted to EUR 161m, up nearly 4% year-on-year. It sold 2.2 million hectolitres of beverages (up 3% in first half 2010) - nearly the half of which was beer.

Pivovarna Lasko CEO Dusan Zorko also labelled the results as good, but added that they were not good enough for the banks. He expressed hope that the banks will show understanding for the group's efforts to reprogramme the loans, as the group was entering new markets.

Zorko said that last year's interest on loans amounted to EUR 23m. In case that this scenario is repeated this year, the interest will exceed the amount the group will get for fruit juices maker Fructal, which was sold to Serbian Nectar in July for EUR 35.3m.

Pivovarna Lasko chief supervisor Vladimir Malenkovic told the press that the supervisors were confident that the financial restructuring of the group would be successful; however, it will take time and the banks' support for the group's proposals.

Malenkovic also expressed belief that simply reprogramming the loans will not be enough, therefore, the beverage maker will have to make additional divestment. He expects the management of Lasko to inform the supervisory board at a session planned for September about a cost-cutting plan for the group that employs 1,800 people.

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