Russian brewer Baltika sees 4-5% growth in 2003

Russia's biggest brewer, Baltika, said it expected growth in the country's beer market dropping to 4-5 percent in 2003 from 8-10 percent this year as demand falls and the industry faces increased taxes. But Baltika President Teimuraz Bolloyev called the downturn on Russia's beer market a short-term negative factor and saw beer consumption up by about a third over the next five years.

Bolloyev noted the market growth was tightly tied to tax regulations, which Baltika says has changed to make investments more expensive and driven rises in retail beer prices, which was pushing consumers away. The president said Baltika's 2002 investment would be cut from a planned $200 million, and would be lower still next year, the Russia Journal reported.

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