SABMiller in flat sales but Peroni fizzes

BREWING giant SABMiller expects consumer spending to recover at the end of 2010 – with only a slight lift in beer sales at the World Cup in South Africa.

The world’s second biggest brewer – which earns over 85 per cent of its profit from emerging markets – posted a 17 per cent rise in annual earnings yesterday, narrowly missing forecasts.

Sales in Latin America, Africa and China were strong – but the Eastern European market is struggling while the performance in the US was weak.

However, Peroni Nastro Azzurro saw a 29 per cent surge in UK sales last year as it was accepted for sale in more pubs and supermarkets.

Chief executive Graham Mackay said: “A broader recovery in consumer spending is not expected before the second half of the current financial year.”

Mackay was cautious over the World Cup in South Africa, where the brewer has a near 90 per cent share of the national beer market.

He said: “There may be an uptick of four, five or six per cent in volumes during the event which may translate to up to one per cent for the year as a whole for South Africa and there maybe an uptick elsewhere but there will not be a dramatic effect to our numbers.”

Meanwhile analysts also urged caution. “Current trading, whilst through the worst, continues to vary by region,” said analyst Matthew Webb at broker JP Morgan Cazenove.

17 per cent rise in annual earnings yesterday, narrowly missed forecasts.

29 per cent rise in UK sales of Peroni Nastro Azzurro

90 per cent share of the South African beer market

85 per cent of its profits come from emerging markets