• H1 net profits up 9% to US$1.8bn
  • Net sales up 1% to $13.9bn
  • Operating profits up 6% to $2bn
  • Group lager volumes up 1% but fall in Europe, North America
SABMiller lost volumes in Europe

SABMiller lost volumes in Europe

SABMiller has posted a half-year rise in profits, but net sales were nearly flat as “challenging” Europe and North America offset gains in Africa and Latin America.

Net profits were up 9% to US$1.8bn in the six months to the end of September, the UK-headquartered brewer said today (21 November). Group net sales rose slightly, by 1%, to $13.9bn in the same period while operating profits climbed by 6% to $2bn.

Europe was the main drag as “continued economic uncertainty and weak consumer sentiment persisted across the region along with intensified competition”, SABMiller said. Sales in the region were up on a reported basis by 9%, however when Anadolu Efes results from the consolidation of Coca-Cola Icecek are taken away, sales were down 1% in the six-month period. Meanwhile, EBITA was down 8% organically.

North American sales remained flat while reported and organic EBITA was up 3%. However, US domestic sales to retailers were down 3% and domestic sales to wholesales were down 4%.

Depsite the challenges, SABMiller CEO Alan Clark remained optimistic. 

“We have continued to deliver on the potential of our businesses in both developed and developing markets, with revenue and margin improvements amid mixed trading conditions,” he said.

There was better news in developing markets, with Africa sales up 9% on a reported basis and 11% organically. EBITA grew by 15% as volumes on the continent increased.

SABMiller reported “good improvements” in China and Australia, as Australian premium brands delivered double-digit volume growth. Domestic lager volumes, however, were down 7% because of “high levels of competitor discounting in the on-premise channel”, SABMiller said.

Looking ahead, the company said trading conditions are expected to remain "broadly unchanged, with growth continuing to be driven by our developing markets".

Today's results were similar to SABMiller's Q1, when sales rose slightly as developing markets outperformed developed markets.

SABMiller's share price jumped by 2% after the bell in London but has since returned to almost even.

To read the company's full results, click here.

This article has been amended to reflect group net producer sales instead of sales that excluded SABMiller's share of associates’ and joint ventures’ sales. Group net producer sales includes group revenue less excise and similar taxes, as well as the SABMiller's share of associates’ and joint ventures’ excise and similar taxes.