SABMiller saw a strong performance in Africa offset a weaker showing in  North America

SABMiller saw a strong performance in Africa offset a weaker showing in North America

Earlier today (24 July), SABMiller reported a 6% rise in first quarter sales. Here, just-drinks takes a closer at the figures by region: 

Latin America 

The company saw sales (net producer revenue) rise by 5% in the region, helped by “selective price increases” and “favourable brand mix”. However, lager volumes fell by 2% due to “numerous trading restrictions”. Soft drinks volumes rose by 9%.

In Colombia, sales grew by 6%. But lager volumes slipped 6%, caused by “selective price increase in April” and dry laws for the two rounds of presidential elections and in “key cities” during Colombia's World Cup games. Sales in Ecuador climbed by 12% driven by “firm pricing” on Pilsener” and “positive brand mix”.

The group's sales in Central America were up 3%. Soft drinks volumes rose 6%, while lager volumes increased by 1%.

Europe 

SABMiller saw sales in the region increase by 8%, as total beverage volumes grew by 5%. Lager volumes were up 3%. The company was helped in the quarter by a soft comparative, due to poor weather last year.

Sales in the recently-integrated business in the Czech Republic and Slovakia were up 6% helped by promotional activities, the company said.

In Poland, the firm's sales were flat in the quarter, while volumes were up 7%.

In the UK, SABMiler sales were up 23%, driven by “the continued growth of Peroni Nastro Azzurro, reflecting improved distribution both in the off-premise and on-premise channels” 

In Italy, sales rose by 5%, from higher volumes, “reflecting Peroni’s seasonal promotional activities in the off-premise channel and the launch of its Peroni Lemon Chill radler”. 

Anadolu Efes’ sales “grew strongly”. A lift in total beverage volumes was driven by the continued growth of soft drinks volumes. However, lager volumes were “negatively impacted by market regulatory conditions in Turkey”, SABMiller said.

North America  

The group saw sales up 3% in the quarter in the region. In the US, where SABMiller operates the MillerCoors JV with Molson Coors, sales were up 2%, as higher net pricing offset a fall in volumes of 1.2%. Premium light lager volumes, including Miller Lite and Coors Lite, fell by “low single-digits”.

Premium regular volumes fell by “low single-digits”. High single-digit growth of Coors Banquet offset a “double-digit decline” in Miller Genuine Draft, the company said. 

Sales of the JV's “above premium” portfolio were up double digits helped by Redd's and new launches Miller Fortune and Smith & Forge.

The firms' craft beer division, Tenth and Blake, reported a low single-digit drop in volumes. The Leinenkugel’s portfolio saw high single-digit growth, while Blue Moon Belgian White saw low single-digit growth. Blue Moon seasonals saw “high single-digit decline”. 

MillerCoors' below premium portfolio declined mid single-digits. 

Africa 

The company saw sales in the region up 11%, driven by pricing. Total beverage volumes rose by 5%. Lager volumes grew by 3%, helped by “market share gains”. Regional soft drinks volumes were up 9%, due to “strong” performances in Ghana, Zambia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe

In Tanzania, group sales rose by 11%, while sales in Mozambique were up 15%, driven by the “strong growth” of Castle Lite.  Sales in Uganda climbed by 7%. In Zimbabwe, the group saw a 6% sales lift, but lager volumes fell, with SABMiller blaming “poor econominc fundamentals”. In Botswana, group sales rose by 8%. 

"Strong" group sales growth continued in Nigeria.

Asia-Pacific

The company saw Q1 sales up by 1% in the region. 

However, sales in Australia fell by 6%, with volumes slipping by 3%. SABMiller blamed “continuing category pressure, reflecting increased negative consumer sentiment following the tough federal budget in May, along with continued competitive intensity”.

In China, sales grew by 8%, as volume rose 4%. This was due to “favourable mix trends, primarily as a result of increasing premiumisation”.

In India, sales fell by 3%, while volumes slipped by 8%. The company said it was impacted by “regulatory changes imposed in the earlier part of the prior year in several key states, as well as trading restrictions caused by the imposition of the election code of conduct during the national elections in April and May”.

South Africa

The group's total beverage sales rose by 12% in the country. SABMiller pointed to “price increases and the continuing premiumisation of its portfolio” as the reason for the performance. Total volumes grew by 6%.

Lager volumes were up 4%, helped by public holidays and “favourable” Easter weather, the company said.