Scottish & Newcastle said interim sales rose 17% boosted by its acquisition of UK cidermaker HP Bulmer, as well as Central de Cervejas and Luso mineral water in Portugal.

For the period to September 30, the maker of John Smith’s bitter, Foster’s lager and Strongbow cider said pre-tax profit rose 8% to £316m, as turnover increased to £3bn.

However, new accounting rules for pensions reduced pre-tax profit by £27m while the company’s pension deficit stands at £523m.

S&N’s chief executive officer Tony Froggatt said sales at its Scottish Courage unit fell 2.7% as business in the off-trade was marked by “low prices for many brands”.

S&N’s Baltic Beverages Holding, its 50/50 joint venture with Carlsberg in Russia and Eastern Europe, said it has a 33% share in the region, while turnover rose 21% to £266m.