Molson Coors will keep its eye firmly fixed on innovation, its CEO says

Molson Coors will keep its eye firmly fixed on innovation, its CEO says

The CEO of Molson Coors has declared that innovation remains the company’s “top priority” in 2014 as part of a bid to attract new drinkers.

In a conference call today (13 February) following the group’s full-year results, Peter Swinburn said the group’s “innovation pipeline” had its best year in 2013, producing around 6% of the company's global net sales. In the US, its JV with SABMiller, MillerCoors, is “migrating” towards the “high-margin and fast-growing above-premium segment”. The unit also launched Miller Fortune this week, a new 6.9% abv golden lager, while a major new cider launch, Smith & Forge, is also planned.

While Coors Light suffered in the US last year, Swinburn flagged that the brand’s sales were up by 30% in the UK last year. It grew “even faster” in Latin American and Mexico, he said.

In Canada, Swinburn warned that the group’s earnings will be hit this year by its decision to “accelerate” the end of a JV that sees it control Grupo Modelo's brands in the country. The Mexican brands brought in around US$18m of pretax profits in 2013, he noted. 

However, Molson Coors will get US$70m in compensation from Anheuser-Busch InBev when it assumes control of these brands at the end of this month. A-B InBev is examining distribution deals for Modelo's brands globally, after it acquired the Mexican firm for US$20.1bn last June.