SABMiller released a trading update earlier today

SABMiller released a trading update earlier today

SABMiller has said that its first-quarter sales rose slightly, as growth in Latin America and Africa was offset by tough conditions in Europe and North America.

In a trading update today (25 July), the UK-headquartered company said that its sales in the three months to the end of June were up by 2% year-on-year. Total volumes, however, came in flat versus the corresponding quarter in 2012.

The brewer has Latin America and Africa to thank for propping up lager volumes in the quarter, which slipped by 1%. The decline compares to a 5% lift in lager volumes in the first quarter of fiscal 2012-13.

"Continuing weakness in consumer confidence and unusually cold and wet weather" across Europe, where lager volumes fell by 7%. Poland suffered particularly badly as the quarter cycled last years Euro 2012 football tournament, which was held in the country.

Meanwhile, in North America, the MillerCoors JV is looking to grow its higher-end beer presence "in a challenging environment". Sales in the region will be down by 3% for the quarter, with sales of Miller Lite falling by high single digits. The 'above-premium' portfolio grew by double digits, however.

Group sales in Africa jumped by 10%, with lager volumes increasing by 8%. Nigeria was highlighted as continuing to grow strongly, with Tanzania returning to growth.

The Asia Pacific region will deliver a 2% dip in sales with volumes staying steady, up by 1%. Australia proved a drag, as the company suffered a loss from discontinued brands in the country.

South Africa reported a 5% rise in sales thanks to beer pricing and higher premium lager sales. Lager volumes were flat, although soft drinks volumes were up by 2%.

“Our first quarter revenue growth was held back by unseasonably cold and wet conditions in many of our northern hemisphere markets, which negatively impacted beer consumption," said chief executive Alan Clark. "This was offset by continued growth in our Latin America and Africa divisions.”

SABMiller's share price fell slightly today, following the release of the update. At midday BST, its stock was down by 3.6% at GBP31.22.