SABMiller to report Q3 volume figures

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.
  • 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 He has been replaced by Karl Lippert.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."
  • 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.
  • 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.