SABMiller investors cheered as sales grow in China and Africa

SABMILLER gave investors a reason to celebrate yesterday after revealing an improvement in European sales as well as strong growth in Africa and China during the six months to the end of September.

Net producer revenues, which exclude tax costs, grew by five per cent in Latin America, 11 per cent in Africa and seven per cent in South Africa. China also saw a substantial increase of 14 per cent.

The European market, which suffered a dismal first quarter, saw “modest” improvements.

In the UK, domestic volume growth, fuelled by Peroni Nastro Azzurro, was up by five per cent in the second quarter. And total volume growth was boosted by three per cent in the Netherlands, thanks to sales of Grolsch, though revenues were flat.

It warned, however, that the recent depreciation of key currencies against the US dollar would hit its results.

“Despite current prevailing uncertainties about developing market economies, we remain confident in the long term growth prospects for the group,” chief executive Alan Clark said in a statement.

Shares in the group closed up 4.2 per cent at 3,167p.