• H1 net profits down 16% to US$1.76bn
  • Net sales in six months to end of September slide 9% to $12.69bn
  • Operating profits drop 23% to $1.83bn
  • Organic net sales up 4%
  • Volumes inch up by 1%

SABMiller has praised a strong underlying performance in H1 despite reported sales and profits dropping on currency fluctuations and a decline in North America.

The company, which yesterday agreed to a takeover by Anheuser-Busch InBev, said net profits were down 16% to US$1.76bn in the six months to the end of September. Net sales slid by 9% to $12.69bn in the same period while operating profits dropped by 23% to $1.83bn.

On an organic basis, stripping out currency headwinds that have hampered SABMiller results in the past few quarters, net sales were up 4% and EBITA increased 5%.

Alan Clark, SABMiller's CEO, said: “We had a good first half, stripping out the effects of adverse exchange rates, with strong growth in Africa and Latin America and better mix across all of our regions. On an organic, constant currency basis, group earnings and margins improved as a result of growing volumes and NPR per hectolitre, and continued cost savings.”

For a look at SABMiller's half-year performance on a regional basis, click here

Today's results gave a more detailed look at SABMiller's H1 after the company released an interim trading statement last month that highlighted volumes and organic sales. The update was brought forward because of the ongoing offer period relating to A-B InBev's proposed takeover, which was finalised yesterday. The companies said in a joint statement that a new Belgian company, called Newco, will acquire SABMiller. The transaction, comprising a cash offer of GBP44 per share and a 'partial share alternative', values SABMiller at around GBP71bn (US$107.3bn).

In the US, where SABMiller operates a JV with Molson Coors, MillerCoors slipped to flat growth in the year so far after a weak quarter hit profits and sales.

Overall volumes were flat but soft drink volumes climbed by 4% after a "good performance" in Latin America and Africa, SABMiller said.

The company warned that currency fluctuations will drag down results for the rest of the fiscal year. "We anticipate that we will continue to be impacted by the depreciation of key operating currencies against the US dollar in the current financial year, which has materially impacted our reported results," it said.

SABMiller's share price on the London Stock Exchange was level as of 1020 GMT today.

To read the company's full results, click here.