Rwanda's Bralirwa 2020 pretax profit surges on increased beer sales, lower costs

KIGALI, March 31 (Reuters) - Rwanda’s biggest brewer, Bralirwa, said on Wednesday its pretax profit more than tripled to 12.9 billion Rwandan francs ($12.98 million) in 2020, boosted by higher beer sales and lower operating costs.

It said beer sales rose by 7%, weathering year-long bar closures as part of curbing the spread of COVID-19, as consumers bought from boutiques, mini markets, supermarkets and restaurants.

It said in a statement late on Tuesday its total revenues were 0.2% lower at 100.5 billion francs, but this was offset by a 60% drop in selling and distribution expenses and drop in administrative expenses of just under a fifth.

Bralirwa, a subsidiary of Heineken N.V., is Rwanda’s oldest brewery and has the right to produce beer brands such as Amstel. It also produces branded soft drinks such as Coca-Cola.

It said its earnings per share rose to 8.75 francs, from 1 Rwandan franc in 2019. ($1 = 993.9220 Rwandan francs) (Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana; Editing by George Obulutsa and Louise Heavens)