SABMiller, the huge brewing company, said financial performance for the final quarter of 2011 was in line with expectations although Europe and North America were noticeably weak.
Total lager volumes for the three month period were 3% ahead of the equivalent period of 2010 but it is worth looking at the troubled divisions.
Europe saw lager volumes fall by 2%, driven by what is described as "intense" competition and a fragile economic backdrop. SAB notes that volumes fell 6% in Russia while Poland and Romania saw similar falls.
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One bright spot was Ukraine, which was going great guns, up 20% on the prior year.
In the US, SAB is known as MillerCoors. The firm's sales to retailers were down 3.3% over the quarter, while sales to wholesalers were down 1.6%. The statement provides no explanation for these results.
Against those rather chastening numbers, SAB can point to a strong performance in Latin America where volumes rose 8% overall on the back of an effort to keep prices down. The Central America division saw volumes up 6% after lager packs were introduced in El Salvador as part of an "affordability" strategy.
Africa grew a storming 11% against a prior year containing very strong comparators. Tanzania was a notable performer, with 13% gains made during the period, Uganda was up 17% and Zambia also knocked back a few pints, with lager volumes 16% ahead of the previous year.
The above would seem to validate the high economic growth rates seen in African countries throughout the last few years, with their rates of expansion having reached in many cases a pace similar to that seen in Asia, albeit from a lower starting point.
Asia Pacific, which does not yet include the recent $10.5bn purchase of Foster's, grew 7%, with China up 5% and India, obviously developing a taste for the amber nectar, up 21%.
On a pro forma basis Foster's sales were 6% below the same period of 2010.
South Africa meanwhile was 2% ahead despite a "challenging" economy.
Since the trading update was released SABMiller shares have been flat in morning trading. Over the last 12 months the stock has gained 8%.
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