SABMiller grows beer sales in H1, just

SABMiller grows beer sales in H1, just

Renewed thirst for beer in Zimbabwe and strong sales in China helped SABMiller to offset sluggish consumer demand across Europe, the US and Latin America in the brewer's fiscal half-year.

SABMiller's global beer sales rose by 1% in volume for the six months to the end of September, the Peroni Nastro Azzurro brewer said today (18 October). Soft drinks sales volumes rose by 2% on the same period of the previous year.

"Results benefited from this volume growth, prior year net price increases and some raw material cost reductions, while we continued to invest in marketing," said the firm. It said that its financial performance for the six months was in-line with expectations.

Africa and Asia stood out for the group in the half-year. African markets, excluding South Africa, reported volume sales up by 11%. Zimbabwe made a significant contribution to SABMiller's African volumes, accounting for around a third of that 11% growth. There were other strong gains in Uganda, Zambia and Mozambique.

China dominated the firm's Asia profile and the brewer reported volume sales up by 9% in the country for the half-year.

The picture was markedly less rosy in other regions. In the US, MillerCoors, the SABMiller-led joint venture with Molson Coors, reported volume sales to retailers down by 3% over the six months. Sales fell more steeply, by 4%, in the second quarter.

Volume sales in Europe fell by 5%, dragged down predominantly by Romania, Czech Republic and Poland. Beer sales also fell "marginally" in Latin America, SABMiller said, mainly due to lower consumer demand in Colombia following a duty tax rise on beer at the start of 2010.

For the full announcement, click here.