South African Breweries, which today announced it is to buy Miller Brewing to create the world's second largest brewer, announced that it has a profit before tax for the year of £606 million, compared to £646m a year before. The company attributed the 6% fall in adjusted earnings in US dollars to "the material adverse currency moves in sub Saharan Africa," which "affected a sizeable portion of our business."

However the brewer said it saw a number of positive signs for the upcoming financial year, including forward momentum in Europe and better results in both Africa and China. SAB also said there are positive signs within operations in South Africa, where the rand is showing resilience.
 
SAB said the focus for the new financial year will be on business rationalisation; improved efficiencies in sales, distribution and manufacturing; sales volume and revenue growth, particularly addressing low per capita beer consumption; and standardisation across all operations.

Total beverage sales volumes grew 15.5% (organic growth 4.8%) to just under 100m hectoliters and lager volumes grew 13.2%, with organic volume growth of 3.5%. South Africa again was cause for concern with only 1.4% growth, but last year's volume declines had at least been reversed.
 
The good sales growth in general though helped push turnover up 4.3% to US$4.4 billion and EBITA grew 6.4% to US$766m. SAB said its continued focus on productivity and cost containment helped deliver margin improvement across many of our businesses, particularly in the larger subsidiaries.