UK: Scottish & Newcastle bids farewell with FY rises, despite France

By | 19 February 2008

Scottish & Newcastle has delivered what could be its last set of full-year results as an independent entity.

The UK-based brewer, which is due to be acquired and split up by Carlsberg and Heineken within the next two months, said today (19 February) that "substantial challenges" in the UK last year were countered with strong performances in the developing markets of Russia and Eastern Europe and India.

Total sales in 2007 rose by 7.9% on 2006, coming in at GBP4.15bn (US$8.08bn), with operating profit climbing to 5.7% to GBP560m. The company posted a net loss for last year, however, of GBP105m, a reverse of a full-year net profit in 2006 of GBP303m. The loss came off the back of S&N's sale in November of its French on-trade wholesale business, with the divestment leading to a charge of GBP376m.

In the UK, despite a stronger performance from the company's cider portfolio, poor weather and the introduction of the smoking ban in 2007, led to flat sales and an 8% slide in operating profit. The disappointing summer was also blamed for slides in sales (-0.2%) and operating profit (-5.1%) in continental Western Europe and the US.

The brewer's Eastern European and Russian joint venture with Carlsberg, Baltic Beverages Holding, maintained its cash cow status, delivering increased sales of 43% and an improvement in operating profit of 42.6% in 2007. S&N's joint ventures in China and India drove rises across the board in Asia, with sales up 20.2% year-on-years, and operating profit up 42.9%.

"In the face of substantial challenges in terms of unprecedented bad summer weather, the UK smoking ban and the distraction of the consortium approach, it is very encouraging that S&N's outstanding portfolio of brands and leading market positions has still delivered revenue growth of +7.9% and operating profit growth of +5.7%," said S&N's CEO John Dunsmore.

The brewer, which should see its acquisiton by Carlsberg and Heineken complete by the end of March, is not paying a final dividend for last year, in light of the sale.

Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: Carlsberg, S&N, Heineken, Baltic Beverages Holding

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