UK: SABMiller sales hit top end of projections
SABMiller has reported that sales for the 12 months to the end of March have been at the top end of its expectations, as the company benefited from what it described as "successful revenue management and enhanced productivity" as well as favourable exchange rates in some of its major countries.
The group's lager volume growth was 11% for the year with organic growth of 7%. Revenue grew by some 16%, benefiting from price increases and mix improvements, which have offset the impact of higher input costs.
"The underlying performance of the group has been good and was at the upper end of management's expectations," a statement said.
In Latin America, lager volumes were up 5% for the year, with a subdued growth rate in the final quarter following mid-teen growth in the comparative period. In Colombia, full year volumes have grown 4%, reflecting slower trading conditions in the second half and tough comparatives.
However the group said that good price and mix increases have been achieved and market facing initiatives continue to deliver benefits. In Peru, volumes ended up 8% in a market that "remains highly competitive".
Europe recorded full year organic growth of 8%.
"The final quarter showed satisfactory growth despite a particularly strong comparative period which had benefited from good weather. Pricing and mix improvements boosted revenue," the statement said.
Growth remained strong in Romania and the year ended with volumes up 28%, driven by the Timisoreana brand's new PET packaging. Organic domestic volume growth of 10% was achieved in Poland, reflecting continued strong growth of Lech and Zubr, while in Russia its portfolio of brands grew by 14%. Domestic volumes in the Czech Republic ended the year marginally above the prior year.
In North America, Miller's full year domestic sales to retailers (STRs) grew by 3.1% after adjusting for the extra trading day in the current year (3.5% unadjusted) and were up 0.7% on an organic adjusted basis.
Trading-day adjusted STRs of Miller Lite were up 1.1% for the full year (1.5% unadjusted). On a similar basis, annual STRs of the worthmore brand portfolio, including Sparks, grew 49% - and now represent 5.8% of the total portfolio - driven by the successful national launch of Miller Chill and the strong double digit growth of Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Leinenkugel's. Miller's domestic net revenue per barrel increased by 4.0% for the full year, which, the company said, reflected good pricing, reductions in promotions and favourable brand mix.
Africa and Asia delivered organic growth of 15% in lager volumes for the year. In China, CR Snow further increased its market leadership with expansion of the Snow brand.
"Organic growth in China was subdued in the final quarter following severe weather conditions, growth of over 30% in the comparative quarter and significant price increases," SABMiller said.
In India organic volumes grew by almost 20% for the year. In Africa (excluding Zimbabwe) on an organic basis lager volumes grew strongly, having accelerated in the final quarter, and ended the year up 6%.
Strong volume growth was recorded in Botswana, following renovation of the St Louis brand and the introduction of new returnable bottles, and good volume growth was also achieved in Tanzania and Mozambique.
South Africa Beverages' full year lager volumes were level with the prior year, although down during the final quarter (over a strong comparative quarter).
"This is a satisfactory full year performance in view of the expected volume loss following the termination of a licensed premium brand with which we now compete," SABMiller explained of its South African operations.
Soft drinks volumes in the country grew by 4% for the year, impacted in the final quarter by carbon dioxide shortages and cycling growth of over 30% in the comparable quarter.
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