just The Preview - SABMiller Q3
SABMiller to report Q3 volume figures
SABMiller will report its third quarter volume sales tomorrow (18 January). Here, just-drinks takes a look at the highs and lows for the brewer in the three months to the end of December.
- At the beginning of the quarter, speculation surfaced linking SABMiller to a buyout of Castel's African beer operations. Many analysts said that the deal would make sense. The rumour was sufficiently strong for Castel to issue a denial that talks had taken place. SABMiller declined to comment.
- SABMiller has added Zimbabwe to its quarterly reporting round-up, but Government proposals to curb alcohol sales in the country could cause the brewer problems in the country.
- Renewed thirst for beer in Zimbabwe and strong sales in China helped SABMiller to offset sluggish consumer demand across Europe, the US and Latin America in the brewer's fiscal half-year. Beer volumes rose by 1%, despite mid-single digit declines in Europe and North America.
- In late October, SABMiller announced that its president for its Latin America beer business, Barry Smith, would retire. He has been replaced by Karl Lippert.
- Around the same time, the group opened its third brewery in Russia. Despite this, the brewer said that it expected a third consecutive drop in annual volume sales in the country in 2010.
- SABMiller's business in India lost ground to United Breweries in the first half of its fiscal 2010. The company appears more interested in emerging markets in Africa and Latin America, as well as China.
- MillerCoors, the joint venture between SABMiller and Molson Coors in the US, reported a mixed third quarter in November. Weak consumer demand hit beer sales, but strong progress on cost savings buoyed profits and one analyst said that this would boost SABMiller's own full-year results.
- Lower costs, as well as price rises, duly lifted SABMiller's half-year profits and net sales, even though global demand for its beers only rose slightly during the period.
- The group's CEO, Graham Mackay, told just-drinks that he would consider acquisitions but that the group doesn't have "money to burn". He said: "We take a look at everything that's available."
- In late November, SABMiller agreed to buy Argentina's third largest brewer, Casa Isenbeck, from Germany's Warsteiner for an undisclosed fee. Analysts have since speculated about a possible foray into Anheuser-Busch InBev's stronghold in Brazil.
- At the end of November, SABMiller was forced to deny allegations of tax avoidance made by the ActionAid charity. The brewer denied that it uses subsidiaries in 'tax havens' to avoid paying millions of pounds in tax on its beer operations in Africa.
- In December, MillerCoors said that it would invest heavily in its new craft beer arm, Tenth & Blake. The standalone division seeks to capitalise on the popularity of craft and imported beers in the US, at the expense of mainstream brands.
- Towards the end of the year, SABMiller's 49%-controlled joint venture in China, China Resources Snow Breweries (CRSB), began construction of a new brewery in the country's Henan province.
SABMiller's entry into Belgium's speciality beer market makes sense and more niche deals are likely across Europe's craft beer sector....
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