SABMiller tops forecasts thanks to growth in emerging markets and US

City A.M. Reporter
BREWER SABMiller beat forecasts with a three per cent rise in beer volumes in the first three months of 2011, led by emerging markets in Africa and Asia as all its regions except the United States saw growth.

The world’s second-largest brewer and maker of Miller Lite, Peroni and Grolsch, said yesterday underlying beer volumes for its full-year through March were up two per cent, while price rises pushed its annual revenue five per cent higher.

London-based SABMiller, which like rivals is facing higher costs for commodities such as barley, wheat and corn, said its raw material costs increased moderately in its second-half, although they were marginally lower for the full-year.

Many brewers buy their barley, corn and wheat supplies well in advance, so the uptick in input cost currently reflects the grain price rises from last summer. Dry weather in the main production areas is also helping to push up prices.

The brewer, which earns over 80 per cent of its profits in emerging markets, has been helped by its low exposure to flat Western beer markets. SABMiller has benefited rom growth in emerging countries, while others such as Heineken and Carlsberg are held back by their bigger exposure to European markets.