SABMiller, the second largest brewer in the world, has reported a 61% leap in half-year earnings, boosted by the strength of the Rand against the dollar.

SABMiller achieved earnings before interest tax and amortisation (EBITA) of US$889m for the six months to September 30, beating analyst forecasts of US$758-847m

The company also said that a recovery in its recently acquired US division Miller brewing is starting to show through.

CEO Graham Mackay said: "Organic, constant currency EBITA growth of 21% was impressive with, notably, Europe up 27% and Beer South Africa up 14%. Our Africa and Asia business once again delivered a good performance from its widespread portfolio with EBITA up 18%.                  
"In Miller, the emphasis remains firmly on our longer term strategy and action plans.  Progress is being made in each of the four key focus areas, whilst financial performance remains in line with our expectations.  Our Central America operation is starting to benefit from our initiatives to enhance its brand portfolio and distribution activities."

He continued: "We have strengthened our international operations and enhanced our future growth potential through selective strategic acquisitions, which we have financed from our strong internal cash flows and available borrowing facilities."

The London-based brewer benefited from a rise of more than 30% in the rand against the dollar, boosting the translation of its rand-based earnings.

However Mackay said: "Our outlook for the year is positive and we are well placed to continue our growth, but the effect of favourable currency will taper off in the second half."