• Profits jump by 25% on synergies
  • Net sales flat
  • Says 2010 one of most challenging on record
MillerCoors says 2010 was one of most challenging on record for US beer

MillerCoors says 2010 was one of most challenging on record for US beer

Cost savings have inflated full-year profits at the second largest brewer in the US, MillerCoors, as consumer demand for beer remained weak.

MillerCoors' net profits for the 12 months to the end of December leapt by 25% to US$1.06bn, the brewer said today (10 February). The group continued to benefit from synergies as a result of its formation in 2008 as a US joint-venture between Molson Coors and SABMiller

Consumer demand for the company's beer continued to be weak throughout the year. Group volumes fell by 2.8% versus 2009 and also shrank by 2.3% in the final quarter. Price increases helped to buoy net sales, which came in flat for the year, at $7.57bn. Net sales in the fourth quarter crept up by 0.4%.

The Coors Light brewer said that 2010 was "one of the most challenging years on record for the US beer industry". However, its recently-launched craft and imported beer division, Tenth & Blake, reported double-digit sales growth for its brands in the fourth quarter. Blue Moon led the performance of the standalone division.

MillerCoors said that its premium light beers also improved as the year progressed.

Many analysts expect 2011 to be kinder to MillerCoors and its main rival, Anheuser-Busch InBev, although it is far from certain that the US beer market will return to growth. "We are building brand equity and improving our mix to meet the challenges ahead in 2011," said MillerCoors' CEO, Leo Kiely.

Earlier today, Canada-based Molson Coors said that MillerCoors' profits increase boosted its own full-year performance in 2010. However, Molson Coors' profits still fell by 5%.

For the full MillerCoors' announcement, click here.