SABMiller Increases Revenue and Volumes

LONDON -- Multinational brewer SABMiller  (LSE: SAB  ) (NASDAQOTH: SBMRY  ) issued its Q3 interim management statement this morning, and saw growth across the majority of the board.

Group revenue organically increased 8% in the third quarter (up 17% on a reported basis), helped by selective price increases and "improved brand mix in most regions."

Total lager volumes were up 2% year on year and soft drinks volumes increased 3%. Central and Latin America proved strong performers, with lager volumes rising 8% and 6% respectively. Africa saw increases of 4%, cycling double-digit volume growth in the prior year, and South Africa posted rises of 3%.

Elsewhere, lager volumes in Asia-Pacific declined by 1% on an organic basis (which excludes Australia), due to subdued volumes in China -- down 3%, blamed on an exceptionally cold and wet winter. In India, volumes grew by 18%; while Australia saw total lager volumes, including discontinued brands, drop off 15%. However, sales were down 4% pro forma, considered an improvement when compared to an 8% decline in the previous six months. SABMiller commented: "The integration program in Australia remains ahead of schedule in respect of both synergy delivery and capability build."

Europe saw just a 1% organic increase in lager volumes, though, with culprits including the Czech Republic (down 11% due to the "continuing decline in the high value on-premise channel... along with the impact of reduced promotional activity and the selective price increases in October 2012") and Poland (down 2% following significantly weakened consumer sentiment). 

However, this was offset by a 23% rise in Romania, with management highlighting the performance of economy brand Ciucas. And, despite the challenging economic backdrop, volumes were up mid-single digits in other European markets.

The group's financial performance for Q3 was in line with expectations, while the interim statement also confirmed details that it has agreed to sell its non-core milk and juice business in Panama to Dos Pinos for $86 million, subject to approval from the Panamanian competition authority.

Overall, then, a healthy set of results for SABMiller, reflected in the share price putting on 20 pence (0.7%) at the time of writing to reach 2,980.50 pence.

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