SABMiller annual growth rate rises

SABMiller's annual growth rate rose more than expected as the beverage company's revenues climbed on excise-driven price increases and the impact of regional mix.

SABMiller's annual growth rate rose more than expected as the beverage company's revenues climbed on excise-driven price increases and the impact of regional mix.

The brewer of popular beers Peroni and Groslsh reported a 3.0% increase in lager volumes on an organic basis for the year to March 31st 2013, according to a trading update Thursday. It beat the 2.0% forecast by analysts at Investec.

Softdrink volumes were up 4.0% for the full year on an organic basis.

Group revenue grew by 7.0% on an organic constant currency basis, with group revenue per hectolitre up 3.0%, reflecting price hikes and its mix of beverages across a range of different geographical markets.

Lager volumes in the Latin American market, usually the group's biggest contributor to profitability, increased 3.0% compared with a year earlier. It missed Investec's 5.0% growth prediction. The company blamed a 1.0% decline in volumes in the fourth quarter due to softer economic conditions.

In Central America, lager volumes jumped by 5.0%, thanks to growth in premium brand Panama and its more affordable beer El Salvador.

Europe rose more than anticipated up 6.0% despite a challenging economic backdrop. Improved volume was delivered through successful launches of brand and pack innovations.

Romania experienced a particular surge in volumes as it shot up 24%, driven by expansion of the new PET pack of economy brand Ciucas launched at the end of the prior financial year.

In the UK, increased distribution contributed to lager volume growth of 4.0% for the year.

However, US domestic sales to retailers (STRs) of MillerCoors were down 2.0%, with a 3.3% decline in the last quarter, on a trading day adjusted basis, amid weaker industry performance.

Premium light STRs dropped mid single digits in the quarter, with a low single digit decline in Coors Light and a high single digit decline in Miller Lite.

Nevertheless Africa grew 6.0%, Asia Pacific rose 6.0% and South Africa increased 2.0%.

RD

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