Legg Mason has cut its rating on Molson Coors to "hold" from "buy", saying that the 12-month outlook is no longer skewed to considerable upside.

In a statement yesterday (1 March), Legg Mason analyst Mark Swartzberg said: "We are decreasing our net revenue per barrel and profit expectations for the company's Americas business as it faces a market leader, Anheuser-Busch, readying for a major pickup in promotional pricing this spring and summer."

Swartzberg also assigned increased integration risk to the merger between Molson and Coors as he believes it is no longer "most reasonable" to expect former Molson CEO Dan O'Neill to be with the combined entity over an extended period (eg beyond 2005).

Swartzberg added that there was also increasing estimated capital spending in 2005 and 2006 (now US$415m each year) for unchanged synergy profits.

The equity analyst also lowered its 2005 EPS estimates to US$4.57 from US$5.38.