SAB Miller reports solid growth

19 April, 2012

SABMiller plc has announced group revenue grew by 7%  and group revenue per hectolitre was up 4% for the year to March 31, 2012.

The South Africa-based global brewer reports that organic lager volumes were 3% ahead of the prior year for both the year and the fourth quarter.

Its Latin America’s lager volumes were up 8% on an organic basis compared with the prior year, with growth sustained through the fourth quarter.

It says In Colombia full year lager volumes grew by 7% reflecting a strong economy, healthy consumer spending and the development of its brand portfolio, including 26% volume growth of our local and international premium brands.

Peru’s full year lager volume grew by 10%, as consumers continued to trade up from the ‘informal’ alcohol sector. Ecuador lager volumes were up 7%, supported by the implementation of SAB’s direct service model and the Sunday trading ban of June 2010.

In Central America lager volumes grew by 6%, with good performances by both Honduras and El Salvador following the introduction of larger packs as an affordable option for low income consumers, says the company.

In Europe SAB MIller full year lager volumes declined by 1% on an organic basis as beer market growth continued to be subdued and competitors aggressively promoted economy brands and packs.

Fourth quarter volumes were down 2%. It reports the completion of planned de-stocking in the second half of the year affected Poland and Romania, which together with the effects of continuing competitor price reductions and promotional activity, resulted in volume declines of 4% and 8% respectively for the year. In the Czech Republic, domestic volumes were in line with the prior year supported by brand and pack innovations and despite continuing weakness in the on-premise channel.

In Russia, volumes were up 2%, ahead of beer market performance, and growth continued in Ukraine. Both Russia and Ukraine reflect 11 months of trading prior to the conclusion of the transaction with Anadolu Efes.

The United Kingdom achieved volume growth of 8% for the full year, led by the expansion of Peroni Nastro Azzurro in the on-trade channel.
For the 12 months ended March 31, MillerCoors’ US domestic sales to retailers were down 2.4%, with a 1.6% decline in the quarter to March on a trading day adjusted basis.

The reports states that the mainstream beer segment has continued to be affected by economic pressure on certain consumer groups. Coors Light delivered low single digit growth in the quarter, offset by a low single digit decline in Miller Lite, and total premium light STRs (sales to retailers) were down low single digits.

Africa’s full year lager volumes grew by 13% on an organic basis, with fourth quarter organic growth of 14%, despite good prior year comparatives and emerging capacity constraints in some markets.

Full year lager volumes in Tanzania grew by 15%, underpinned by a strong performance in the premium segment and the positive impact of the strengthening of sales and distribution.

In Mozambique, lager volumes ended 9% higher driven by better penetration in the north of the country, and a strong fourth quarter assisted by the launch in November 2011 of its cassava beer Impala.

Zambia lager volumes grew by 17% over the full year, supported by a strong economy and growth in premium offerings. In Uganda SABMiller’s  reach into the west of the country helped deliver lager volume growth of 19%. Increased capacity and improved availability enabled its associate in Zimbabwe to grow full year lager volumes by 23% on an organic basis.

Castel’s full year lager volumes (excluding the management combination of its Angola businesses and its Madagascar acquisition) grew by 11% with sound volume performances in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Tunisia.

Lager volumes in the Asia Pacific region grew by 4% for the year on an organic basis and by 1% in the fourth quarter. Full year lager volume growth in China was 9% on a reported basis and 4% on an organic basis, with acquisitions enhancing market share.

The reports says volume growth was impacted by poor weather in key regions particularly during the peak second quarter, and more recently with heavy rains in March which resulted in a slight decline in the fourth quarter.

In India, volumes for the year were up 3% with stronger growth in the second half of the year following the lifting of certain trading restrictions in Andhra Pradesh in September and in spite of the impact of a number of excise increases across key states introduced at the beginning of the year.

In Australia, CUB’s lager volumes for the quarter ended March 31 were 4% below the same period in the prior year, a slower rate of decline than the previous quarter.

In South Africa, lager volumes for the year grew by 2% and were up 6% in the fourth quarter.

SABMiller’s core brand portfolio performed well with strong contributions from Castle Lite and Castle Lager.

The company said business continued to benefit from targeted brand investments as well as improved retail execution and customer service.

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