SABMiller sees mixed Q3

SABMiller sees mixed Q3

Stockpiling in Russia, as well as growth in Africa and Latin America, offset declines in other markets to see SABMiller report flat beer volume sales in its fiscal third quarter.

Like-for-like beer sales by volume for the three months to the end of December were equal to the same period a year earlier, SABMiller said in a trading update today (19 January).

Volumes slipped by 1% for the first nine months of the year, said the UK-listed brewer, which last week lost out to Heineken in the  race to acquire Mexico's FEMSA Cerveza.

"Consumer demand during the quarter varied across our markets, with some showing tentative signs of recovery, whilst in others demand remained subdued," said the firm, which brews Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Miller Genuine Draft.

Financial performance was in-line with expectations, it said.

Volume sales in Russia rocketed by 34% in the third quarter as distributors raced to stock up on beer ahead of the Government's move to triple excise tax from 1 January. Most other main SABMiller markets in Eastern Europe showed decline.

There was also a 3.6% drop in beer volume sales to retailers for MillerCoors, the US beer venture between SABMiller and Molson Coors. Sales to wholesalers slipped 4% in the three months.

Lager volume sales in South Africa also fell 4%, while India, which represents a small proportion of global sales, fell by 7%.

The rest of Africa, Asia and Latin America provided better news for SABMiller, growing volumes by 7%, 5% and 4% respectively in the quarter. Heavy snow and wet weather saw China volume growth curbed to 6%, the brewer said.  

Soft drinks volumes also performed better, up 2% globally in the quarter, despite a 5% drop in South Africa.