San Miguel Corporation has posted a marked slide in operating profit for the first nine months of this year.

The Philippines-based conglomerate, which operates in the beer, soft drinks and spirits sectors, said today (8 November) that consolidated operating profit fell by 14% on the corresponding period a year earlier to PHP12.3bn (US$283.9m).

Group sales were up by 8% year-on-year at PHP170bn, with net profit for the year so far increasing by 15% to PHP7.07bn.

San Miguel blamed the lower than expected operating profit on the performance of its Australian National Foods division, which was affected by "persistently" high costs of dairy raw materials and imported juice concentrates due to "tight supply amid the prolonged drought" in Australia.

While the company's domestic beer business delivered 7% revenue growth in the period, international beer operations reversed last years operating loss, delivering operating profit of $4.3m.

Ginebra San Miguel, the conglomerate's spirits division, posted a 2% lift in sales to PHP9.5bn, although no profit figures were announced.

Net income was boosted by the sale of Coca-Cola Bottler Philippines earlier this year, to The Coca-Cola Company, which brought in PHP870m for the group.