SABMiller beer volumes rise

City A.M. Reporter
SABMiller has reported a three per cent rise in beer volumes in the last three months of 2011, as growth in African and Latin American markets helped offset falls in North America and Europe.

The world’s second-largest brewer and maker of Miller Lite, Peroni and Grolsch said beer price rises helped the group to push up its underlying revenue in its October-December quarter by seven per cent.

The London-based group said overall its financial performance was in line with its expectations as price rises helped offset moderate rises in raw materials like barley, wheat and corn as analysts look for flat profit margins for its year.

However, beer volumes at its newly-acquired Foster’s Australian business dipped six per cent in the quarter and although not included in its overall figures showed the challenge faced by Foster’s new chief Ari Mervis amid tough market conditions.

Analysts said the update was generally positive highlighting the group’s big emerging market exposure and wide geographic spread, but there were some concerns over its mature markets.

“The regional split still strikes us as a mixed bag, with positive growth in emerging markets offset by negative volume momentum in Europe, USA and the newly acquired Foster’s business,” said analyst Martin Deboo at Investec Securities.