* H1 pretax up 12 pct at 6.8 billion shillings
* Revenue up 9 percent to 34.77 bln shillings
* Net sales up 17 pct in Tanzania, up 7 pct in Uganda (Adds details on growth drivers)
NAIROBI, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Rising beer and spirit sales in Tanzania and Uganda helped East African Breweries (EABL) post a 12 percent rise in first-half pretax profit, the brewer said on Thursday.
Profit for the firm, controlled by Britain’s Diageo, grew to 6.8 billion shillings ($74 million) in the six months through December 2014, the brewer said, adding profits were helped by lower fuel costs and improved production efficiency.
Revenue was up 9 percent to 34.77 billion shillings, driven by a 17 percent growth in net sales in Tanzania and a 7 percent rise in sales in Uganda. Sales in Kenya were up 3 percent.
The company said its business in South Sudan, the world’s newest nation which has experienced unrest since its formation, also contributed to improved performance.
“Despite currency challenges, our export markets, supported by the establishment of the local depot in Juba, delivered over 100 percent growth,” Group Managing Director Charles Ireland said in a statement on the company’s website.
EABL’s basic earnings per share rose to 5.24 shillings from 4.99 shillings a year ago, the brewer said.
Its shares are up 5.8 percent so far this year, in line with a move higher by the broader market, and closed at 326 shillings on Thursday.
$1 = 91.5000 Kenyan shillings Reporting by George Obulutsa and Duncan Miriri; Editing by James Macharia and David Holmes