SAB Miller is on target to meet expectations for quarter three. In a trading update released today, the brewer said that volumes for the quarter to 31 December 2003 were strong across most operations.

Beer South Africa grew by almost 3% on a comparable basis, in line with the year to date. Amalgamated Beverage Industries, the company's South African soft drinks division, achieved a volume growth of over 10%, with the year to date at around 8%. Sales in South Africa were assisted by generally good weather and higher consumer spending.

Miller's domestic sales to retailers (STRs) for the quarter were 1% below the previous year, with the growth in Miller Lite largely offsetting weaknesses elsewhere. Domestic shipments to wholesalers (STWs) were in line with STRs. On a pro forma basis, year to date domestic STRs were 3.4% lower year-on-year, whilst total domestic STWs, as with the quarter, were in line with STRs.

Beer volumes for the quarter, and year to date, have grown by 3% across the Central American operations, whilst carbonated soft drink (CSD) volumes were down by 4%, against 6% year to date.

In Europe, organic lager volume growth for the third quarter was 7%, and 8% for the year to date.

The integration of the Peroni acquisition is proceeding according to plan, said the company.

The Africa and Asia business delivered a 3% increase in organic lager volume over the third quarter of the previous year, in line with year to date.

In the year to 31 March 2003, the group generated US$770 million pre-tax profit from a turnover of US$9.1 billion.