Peroni helps SABMiller to shrug off declining UK lager market

DEMAND for Peroni has pushed brewing giant SABMiller to an increase in UK sales, despite an overall decline in the domestic lager market.

The FTSE 100 firm, the world’s second-largest brewer, said yesterday that distributing Peroni in more pubs has led to a four per cent rise in UK sales on a volume basis in the year to April.

Worldwide, the company’s volume sales rose three per cent, and higher lager prices mean that SABMiller’s annual revenues have risen by seven per cent.

It saw surprisingly strong demand in Africa, where the firm has recently launched cheaper beers aimed at taking on illicit brewers, and Europe, where sales of its Tyskie brand proved popular during Poland and Ukraine’s Euro 2012 football tournament.

Recent warm weather in China boosted the Asia Pacific region after a perilously cold winter, but the final quarter of the year in Latin America, SABMiller’s largest market, disappointed.

Volume sales in the region fell one per cent in the first three months of 2013, which the company blamed on economic conditions and strict regulation.

SABMiller, which owns around 200 brands including Grolsch and Pilsner Urquell, saw shares rise by 1.6 per cent yesterday.