Focus - SABMiller's Q3 Performance by Region
The group saw a strong performance for Peroni in the UK
Earlier today, SABMiller reported a slight rise in third quarter sales and volumes. The group’s performance in emerging markets was encouraging, but volumes in Europe and North America were down. Here just-drinks takes a more in-depth look at the brewer and soft drinks producer's results by region:
The group said its “above mainstream” brand drove growth in the region. Net producer revenue rose 5% in Q3. Overall organic volumes were up 3%, with lager volumes rising 2%. Columbia saw lager volumes up 1%, while in Ecuador lager volumes grew 4%, helped by the growth of Pilsener Light. In Central America, lager volumes grew 3% in the quarter, due to a “robust” performance from Miller Lite in Panama and Honduras. Soft drinks volumes rose 8% in the region.
SABMiller blamed a 6% drop in sales and 2% fall in volumes on “challenging market conditions” in the region. Lager volumes were down by 5% in the quarter. In Poland, volumes fell 4% due to “competitive intensity” and weak consumer spending, the company said. However, in the group’s domestic market of the UK, volumes climbed by 9%, which was led by its Peroni Nastro Azzurro brand, through “increased distribution" and an “improved rate of sale”. Anadolu Efes, in which SABMiller has a 24% stake, saw volumes grow, driven by soft drinks, but lager volumes were hit by “on-going softness” and a clampdown on alcohol advertising in Turkey.
MillerCoors, SABMiller's US JV with Molson Coors, said its portfolio is continuing to evolve towards the “above premium” segment. Sales were up 1%, but sales to retailers were down by 1.9% in the quarter. Coors Lights volumes fell “low-single digits” and Miller Lite was down “mid-single” digits. Miller Genuine Draft also saw a “double-digit decline” in volumes.
The group’s craft division, Tenth and Blake, saw “low-single digit” growth driven by Leinenkugel’s and Blue Moon. The rest of the company’s above premium portfolio grew strongly due to “innovation, particularly the notable success of the Redd’s franchise”, the company said.
Despite “challenges”, SABMiller said it was encouraged by the third quarter in the continent. Sales rose 8%, while lager volumes grew 6%. Zambia saw volumes climb by 12% due to increased availability, but also a trade buy-in ahead of a January price increase, due to a 50% rise in beer tax. Political unrest in Mozambique dented volumes by 2%. A 5% rise in soft drinks volumes was driven by Ghana and Zambia.
Sales in the region were up 6%, mostly driven by China. In Australia, however, sales fell 1%, while volumes dropped 4%. The “soft” volumes were due to “weak consumer sentiment and continuing intense competition in all channels”, the company said. In China, sales grew “double-digits”, as volumes rose 13%, helped by “strong portfolio premiumisation trends”.
Sales for the quarter were up 7% in the country, helped by positive brand mix in beer and volumes growth for soft drinks. However, lager volumes fell by 2% due to “the weaker economic and consumer environment”. But the company’s local premium portfolio continued to perform strongly, helped by Castle Lite and Castle Milk Stout.
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