Swiss glass manufacturer Vetropack increased its sales by 14.6% in the first half of the year with its new Italian group playing a key role in the increase.

Net sales from goods and services for Vetropack was CHF310.8 million ($315.4 million), up from CHF 271.1 million ($275.8 million) from the first half of the year before.

Vetropack Italia played a key role in this increase, contributing CHF 38.4 million ($39 million). Its acquisition gave Vetropack a new domestic market and a strong market presence.

The other Vetropack companies successfully offset their stagnating domestic markets by growing their exports. Exports made up 44.4% (2015: 45.8%) of total sales. Excluding Vetropack Italia, which primarily operates on its domestic market, this figure would have been 46.8%.

The political and economic crisis in Ukraine coupled with new alcohol taxes has sparked a further major fall in consumer spending since early 2016. Performance fell at the Swiss glassworks, where the furnace roof needed urgent repair.

The strong Swiss franc also continued to have negative repercussions for the business overall.

The consolidated semi-annual profit of CHF 24.4 million ($24.8 million) (2015: CHF 14.2 million) was up 71.8% on the previous year’s figure, which had been badly hit by exchange rate losses.

Vetropack said it expects the market situation to remain the same over the next six months. Only Ukraine will see a marked increase in the downturn on its domestic market and a fall in its contribution to group performance.

Another factor is the two rounds of scheduled repairs set for the second six months of the year on the furnaces at the Ukrainian plant in Gostomel and at the Austrian plant in Pöchlarn, which will result in increased expenditure.

Although higher net sales are expected for the whole of the 2016 reporting year thanks to Vetropack Italia, lower earnings figures are anticipated for the reasons outlined above.

Pictured: Vetropack's Pöchlarn site in Austria is set for a furnace repair later this year