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US: MillerCoors sees H1 profits lift as sales flatline

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  • H1 net profits rise by 5.6% to US633.4m
  • Six-month net sales flat, down by 0.1% to $3.83bn
  • Operating profits also increase, by 5.9% to $645.1m
  • Brewer makes $18m synergy savings in Q2

MillerCoors has said that it is not satisfied with only increasing profits, after cost savings again rode to the US brewer's rescue amid weak consumer demand in the first half of 2011.

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The brewer, a joint-venture between SABMiller and Molson Coors, saw net profits rise by 5.6% to US$633.4m in the six months to the end of June. Operating profits increased by 6% on the same period of 2010, to $645.1m, as the group benefited from lower costs and synergies.

The rises, though, were overshadowed by ongoing weakness at the top-line.

MillerCoors' beer sales fell by 3% in volume, as lower demand for MGD 64 and Miller Lite offset higher sales of Coors Light. Price increases kept net sales even, down by just 0.1% on the previous year to $3.831bn. 

Both MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch InBev have been hit by the troubled US economy, which has led to high unemployment rates among their key market of young men. At the same time, they face greater competition from a resurgent craft beer sector.

MillerCoors' CEO, Tom Long, said that the brewer knows it must recover volumes. "We are not satisfied with profit growth alone and we remain committed to investing behind our brands to drive volume and share growth over time," he said today (2 August).

The group, alongside rival A-B InBev, has attempted to capitalise on rising demand for small-scale beer brands in the US. MillerCoors' Tenth & Blake craft beer and imports business reported double digit volume gains in the second quarter.

Total net sales for the second quarter dipped by 0.1% to $2.132bn. However, operating profits for the three-month period rose by 2.4% to $406.4m, with net profits up by 1.6% to $402m. 

For the official release, click here.


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