* Q3 net profit flat at 675.2 mln yuan, lags estimates
* Sales volume up 12.8 pct in Jan-Sept period
* Shares down 1.3 pct so far, lagging benchmark index
HONG KONG, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Tsingtao Brewery Co Ltd , China’s second-biggest brewer by volume, said its third-quarter net profit was largely unchanged from a year earlier as higher production costs offset a rise in beer sales.
Net profit was 675.2 million yuan ($108.14 million) in the three months ended September compared with 674.2 million yuan a year earlier, Tsingtao said on Tuesday. That lags a profit of 685 million yuan to 701 million yuan forecast by two analysts.
Sales growth was hampered by rising costs in labour, packaging and raw materials including barley, analysts said.
Tsingtao’s sales gained 12.8 percent to 68.2 million hectolitres in the first nine months, with sales of its main brand Tsingtao up 10.2 percent to 36 million hectolitres.
Nine-month net profit was flat at 1.68 billion yuan from 1.66 billion yuan a year earlier.
The increase came as Tsingtao, the country’s second-largest brewer by volume after CR Snow - a joint venture between China Resources Enterprise and SAB Miller - stepped up spending on marketing to drive sales.
In the first nine months, national beer output rose 3.3 percent to 398.7 million hectolitres, Tsingtao said, citing the National Bureau of Statistics. That compares with an 8.6 percent increase a year earlier.
Tsingtao, also competing with Heineken NV and Carlsberg A/S in China, said last year that it aimed to boost its annual capacity to 100 million hectolitres in 2014.
Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings holds a stake of about 19 percent in Tsingtao.
Tsingtao’s Hong Kong-listed shares have lost 1.3 percent this year, lagging a gain of about 16 percent in the benchmark Hang Seng Index. ($1 = 6.2436 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Donny Kwok and Kelvin Soh; Editing by Ryan Woo)