Chinese brewer Tsingtao H1 net profit up 0.7 pct

SHANGHAI Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:18am EDT

SHANGHAI Aug 28 (Reuters) - Tsingtao Brewery Co Ltd , China's second-largest brewer by volume, said first-half net profit edged up 0.7 percent, held back by slowing growth in the wider beer market and increasing competition from international rivals.

Tsingtao, which is one-fifth owned by Japan's Asahi Breweries Ltd, saw net profit rise to 1.4 billion yuan ($227.9 million) in the six months to the end of June from 1.39 billion yuan in the same period a year earlier.

Competition has been heating up with the big four global brewers - Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, SABMiller, Heineken and Carlsberg - looking to Asia for growth with sales flagging in Europe and the United States. China is the world's biggest beer market by volume.

Tsingtao's full-year net profit is estimated to grow 7.3 percent in 2014, slower than the 12.2 percent growth last year, according to 20 analysts polled by Reuters.

China's beer industry is expected to reach 654 billion yuan in 2018 from 450 billion yuan last year, according to Euromonitor. The sector is also consolidating, which should give some support to market leaders such as Tsingtao.

The firm, which competes with SABMiller-backed Snow beer, AB InBev and Beijing Yanjing Brewery Co Ltd, saw first-half revenues rise 13.3 percent to 16.96 billion yuan against a year earlier. Carlsberg is also mounting a challenge, upping its stake in local brewer Chongqing Brewery last year.

Tsingtao posted second-quarter net profit of 819 million yuan, down from 907 million yuan a year earlier, according to Reuters calculations based on company data.

Tsingtao's first-quarter net profit had risen 20 percent on stronger sales.

Tsingtao's Hong Kong stock closed down 0.2 percent, outperforming the Hang Seng Index's 0.7 percent fall. The brewer's stock is down 12.7 percent so far this year, lagging the wider index which is up 6.2 percent.

(1 US dollar = 6.1423 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Mark Potter)