SABMiller sales boosted by its emerging markets

A STRONG recovery in emerging markets helped brewing giant SABMiller beat forecasts with a 16 per cent rise in half-year earnings, while the Miller Lite brewer’s markets in Europe and North America struggled.

The world’s second biggest brewer, which earns more than 80 per cent of its profits from emerging markets, said Africa and Asia had fully recovered while high unemployment in mature markets was holding back any upturn in beer sales.

Chief executive Graham Mackay said: “The outlook is extremely mixed.

“Emerging markets are fine although some have been hit by tax but developed markets in Europe and North America are struggling.”

The brewer of Peroni and Grolsch beers said it would continue to benefit from lower raw material prices such as for barley to the end of its March 2011 year and then see a small rise the following year as higher grain prices come through.

“The market seems to have assumed that SABMiller is better placed than some competitors to deal with the increase in some commodity costs,” said Matthew Webb at brokers JP Morgan Cazenove.