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Drinks company Tempo saw its revenues shrink by 7.5 percent last year, while its net losses grew threefold to NIS 16 million, its financial results for 2000 showed yesterday.

The management attributed part of Tempo's lackluster performance to tough competition. For many of its products, the company has to compete against big local manufacturers, while in the beer category, Tempo has the small importers of premium foreign brands to fend off.

Tempo reported revenues of NIS 573 million in 2002 compared to NIS 620 million in 2001. The company made operating losses of NIS 4.4 million compared to an operating profit of NIS 22 million in the preceding year.

"The continuing weakness in demand both locally and in the [Palestinian] areas forced the company to extend its efficiency drive that began with the closure of our Holon plant," said the directors' report.

During 2002, the company took several measures to cut its costs, including the closure of a manufacturing plant and distribution center, and the loss of around 150 jobs.

Tempo currently employs around 1,100 workers, 800 of them permanent staff.

In the soft drinks market, Tempo is concentrating on its successes - Jump which has made a name for itself, and the Italian San Benedetto mineral water brand, which Tempo has under its control. Tempo still dominates in the beer market through its local brands.

Tempo attributed part of the falloff in demand on the lack of tourists, and the intifada which has deterred visits to pubs and restaurants. In addition, sales were eroded in real terms due to the increase in inflation.

Despite all, the senior five employees including CEO Danny Yakoby and chairman Zak Bar, reported wages that ranged from NIS 1.1 million to NIS 1.8 million for the year.