SAB Miller boosted by Latin America

BREWING giant SABMiller saw its shares rise yesterday after it said its Latin American operation was helping to boost sales amid a sluggish period in the UK and US.

The shares climbed three per cent to 1,996p featuring among the top gainers on the benchmark FTSE 100 index. It said lager volumes grew two per cent in the fourth quarter.

But the big breakthrough came in Colombia which saw a 13 per cent jump in beer sales – more than double the growth rate of the third quarter.

In South Africa – where the football World Cup is expected to boost sales – the rise was eight per cent.

However, overall beer volumes remained flat with Europe in particular showing little evidence of improvement.

The group said in a statement: “Consumer demand has been hampered by adverse global economic conditions throughout the year, although some of the emerging markets in which we operate started to show signs of recovery towards the end of the financial year.”

In a note to clients JPMorgan Cazenove said: “We believe that SAB offers the best long-term top-line growth in the sector given that it has the greatest exposure to the emerging markets. We believe that this, in combination with its medium-term margin expansion potential, warrants a more substantial premium to the sector.”