SABMiller has seen sales volumes rise by a healthy 10% in the year to the end of March.

The brewer, which unveiled the figures today (12 April), said that the increase in organic volumes was "in line with management expectations but was partially offset by higher input costs and increased investment across the business".

Including volumes for South America from 12 October 2006, 12 months after it became part of the group, total lager volumes were up by 23% year-on-year. In October 2005, SABMiller paid US$4.8bn for a majority stake in Bavaria, Latin America's second-largest brewer, which dominates beer markets in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Panama.

While volumes for the year rose by 12% in South America, with growth accelerating in the final quarter to 14%, in Europe, volumes for the year grew by 11% on an organic basis with the final quarter up by 15%. Strong performances in Poland, Russia and Romania were credited for the rise.

In North America, however, Miller's full-year domestic sales to retailers were level with the prior year and down some 3% on an organic basis - excluding Sparks and Steel Reserve - in line with Miller's shipments to wholesalers over the same period. In the fourth quarter, Miller's STRs declined by 2.3% on an organic basis.

Turning to Africa and Asia, the brewer saw the regions deliver organic growth of 27% in volumes for the year, thanks in part to a 30% leap in volumes in China. In Africa - excluding Zimbabwe- lager volumes grew by 7% for the full year.

Finally, in South Africa, lager volumes for the year were up by 2%, with fourth quarter growth in volumes of 8% benefiting from favourable weather conditions.

Last month, SABMiller's SA Beverages was stripped of the rights to Heineken's Amstel brand. "This has not had an impact in the current year," the company noted.