Miller gets lift from emerging market sales

SABMILLER, the world’s second-largest brewer, said yesterday that emerging markets would continue to drive sales and earnings while European and North American consumers drink less beer.

Other companies including Unilever and Diageo have reported a slowdown in emerging markets such as China and Brazil but SABMiller said it was upbeat on the outlook for Latin America, Africa and Asia.

The maker of Peroni, Grolsch and Miller Lite cited particular strength in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia where urban populations are growing and trading up to branded beer from home-brewed alcohol.

“Amid widespread concerns around slowing economies, particularly in emerging markets, we believe that the underlying fundamentals of our key developing markets remain intact,” chief executive Alan Clark said.

“This includes growth drivers such as growing population, increasing urbanisation, progressively aspirational consumers and opportunities to gain market share from the illicit trade.”

The brewer has leading positions in Africa, China and the Andean region of Latin America.

Strength in those places helped SABMiller report a seven per cent rise in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, reaching $3.27bn in the six months ended 30 September. Volume gains of nine per cent in Africa, four per cent in Asia Pacific and one per cent in Latin America were tempered by declines of four per cent in Europe and three per cent in North America.