The Brazilian beverage group Ambev ignored a slump in consumer confidence in South America to record a 58 per cent rise in net earnings in the second quarter, the Financial Times reports. Ambev recorded earnings before tax, depreciation and amortisation of R$388.5m (Euro176.47m), compared with R$245.3m (Euro111.42m) in the same period last year, in line with expectations. Ambev reported net profits of R$127.5m (Euro57.91m), against losses of R$102.4m (Euro46.51m) last time. Net sales reached R$1.35bn (Euro613.22m). The figures bucked the downbeat trend in the Brazilian consumer sector that saw Pao de Acucar, the country's largest supermarket chain, reveal a 43 per cent drop in second-quarter net profit. A warmer than usual autumn and price increases of up to 8 per cent on some beer brands helped to protect Ambev's results from declining consumer demand, although analysts said this could start to have an impact later in the year. Ambev beer sales increased in Argentina, despite the economic crisis there, and in Venezuela. The results benefited from the cost savings achieved through the merger, which Ambev estimates will reach R$500m (Euro227.12m) a year. Earnings for the first half of the year were 48 per cent higher at R$838.4m (Euro380.83m).