SABMiller hit by disappointing Far East sales

Ollie Gordon
SOUTH African brewing giant SAB­Miller yesterday posted below-expectation earnings and a drop in margins for the first half, with the numbers hit by a poor performance in Asia-Pacific.

The world’s second largest beer manufacturer recorded $3.28bn (£2.08bn) in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) in the six months to the end of September. That number was almost flat on last year’s result and below the average $3.38bn forecast of 17 analysts’ consensus. Profit margins also fell by 30 basis points.

In better news, the group – whose brands include Miller, Peroni and Pilsner – saw its total drink volumes grow by one per cent and its net producer revenue increase by five per cent.

The numbers were relatively strong across the group, but were curtailed by a 15 per cent reduction in Ebitda in the Asia-Pacific region, which makes up 15 per cent of SAB’s revenues. The firm said the fall was driven by disappointing beer sales in China, because of poor weather in July and August, along with similarly poor sales in Australia, on the back of tougher competition and declining economic conditions.

Conversely, Latin America saw a seven per cent rise in Ebitda and in Africa a three per cent boost, driven by strong lager and soft drink sales across both continents.

SABMiller chief executive Alan Clark said: “We continued to grow earnings in the first half with chal­lenging trading conditions mitigated by ongoing efficiencies. We are well placed to capture future top line growth opportunities in both emerging and developed markets and are making good initial progress on our plan ot realise $500m from operational efficiencies and cost savings.”