SABMiller saw volumes up significantly in Africa and Latin America

SABMiller saw volumes up significantly in Africa and Latin America

SABMiller's first-quarter performance has been "in line with expectations" as group revenue rose 8%, the company said today (26 July). 

In an interim management statement, the brewer said overall lager volumes in the three months to the end of June were up 5% year-on-year, helped by healthy volume rises in Latin America and Africa. In Europe, volumes were up 7%, but Western Europe volumes were "depressed" due to poor weather and economic conditions, the group said.

Group revenue per hectolitre rose by 3% in the quarter, reflecting "selective price increases and improved mix in most regions", the Grolsch and Peroni Nastro Azzurro brewer noted.

Soft drinks volumes were 6% up on last year's Q1. 

Its performance was slighly ahead of analysts' predictions

In Latin America, lager volumes rose 6% on last year's Q1. Peru and Ecuador were the star performers, with volumes up 8% in both countries. Drinkers trading up from "informal alcohol" to lager partly explained the strong Peru performance, the group said. 

In the US, MillerCoors' domestic sales to retailers fell 1.4% in the quarter. Slight growth in Coors Light was offset by a marginal drop for Miller Lite, the company said. Its "below premium" portfolio dropped by mid-single digits. Sales to wholesalers were in line with last year.

In Africa, lager volumes grew by 9%, with Mozambique the highlight with growth of 12%. In South Africa, lager volumes rose by 1% despite "slowing consumer spending".

European volume growth was boosted by the Euro 2012 football tournament, SABMiller said. In Poland, one of the host countries, volumes rose 11%. However, the company added: "Volumes were depressed in our Western European markets due to a combination of poor weather and weak economic conditions." 

In Asia Pacific, lager volumes rose 7% in the quarter. Volumes in India were up 24%, while China saw growth of 5%. 

However, in Australia the group saw a "significant reduction in volumes" with the market hit by "subdued consumer sentiment" and drinkers continuing to switch to other alcohol away from lager. Lager volumes at CUB, the Australian drinks arms of the Foster's group it acquired in December, fell 13%. 

SABMiller is also hosting its AGM today, where a number of management changes will be confimed. From today, current CEO Graham Mackay will also take on the role of executive chairman, replacing Meyer Kahn as chairman. Mackay will then become non-executive chairman at SABMiller's AGM next year. 

Alan Clark, who will be appointed chief operating officer today will succeed Mackay as chief executive at the 2013 AGM.

To read an exclusive just-drinks comment piece on these results, click here

To read the company's official statement, click here.