MillerCoors reports tough Q4

MillerCoors reports tough Q4

MillerCoors, the second largest brewer in the US, has reported rises in both beer sales and profits for 2009, despite falls in the fourth quarter.

Net sales rose by nearly 2% to US$7.57bn for the 12 months to the end of December, compared to 2008, said MillerCoors today (9 February).

Net profits jumped to $842.8m for the year, compared to $533.6m in a previous full-year hit by one-off charges.

However, the rises masked a tough fourth quarter for the brewer, which is a 50-50 joint venture between SABMiller and Molson Coors formed in 2008.

Fourth quarter net sales fell to $1.71bn, from $1.73bn in 2008. Underlying net profits for the final three months slipped by nearly 22% to $106m.

"It’s tough out there, and we saw the effect of ongoing economic pressure and unemployment on beer sales, especially in the fourth quarter,” said MillerCoors CEO Leo Kiely.

Full-year volume sales to retailer and wholesalers fell by 1.7%, the group said.

Growth for MGD64, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Blue Moon brands was offset by decline for Miller Lite and, to a lesser extent, Coors Light.

MillerCoors said it remains on-track to deliver $750m in total synergies and other cost savings by the end of 2012.

Molson Coors, which also published its own full-year results today, saw its share price fall 3% in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange. SABMiller's share price fell 2% on the London Stock Exchange.

For the full announcement, click here.

An update, following the group's conference call, appears here.