Molson Coors Brewing has posted a slide in net profit for its third quarter, with sales in the period following suit.

The North American brewer, which last month announced that it was teaming up in the US with SABMiller, said today (6 November) that net income for the three months to the end of September was down by just under 1% to US$134.7m.

While net sales in value terms were up by 6.9% on the corresponding period a year earlier at $1.69bn, volume sales fell slightly, by 0.2% to 11.21m barrels from 11.24m barrels. The company blamed a "weather-related decline in sales" in the UK for the volume slide.

Operating income posted a more marked decrease, down to $181.7m from $206.9m.

"We are pleased with the solid progress that Molson Coors achieved in the third quarter, with strong growth in both net sales and profitability," said company president and CEO, Leo Kiely. "In our two largest markets, the US and Canada, we continued to gain market share on the strength of our strategic brands. In the UK progress in reducing fixed overheads was offset by a charge to recognise increased liabilities for pension benefits, along with increased investments behind our core brands."

For the first nine months of this year, Molson Coors saw net profit rise to $324m from $261.8m, with sales up to $6.15bn from $5.8bn.

Operating income for the year so far increased to $462.2m from $407.4m in the same period in 2006.

"In addition, we are very excited about our planned MillerCoors joint venture in the US market, which we expect to generate substantial additional earnings and cash flow for Molson Coors over time, enabling us to compete even more effectively in an increasingly competitive global market.

"This joint venture represents a huge step forward in our quest to become a top-performing global brewer."