SABMiller, the London-based international brewer said today that its volume growth for the third quarter was strong, with organic growth of some 5% in total lager beer volumes.

Beer South Africa volumes grew by 4% on a comparable basis, in line with year to date. ABI achieved a volume growth of 6%, against year to date growth of 7%. South African volume growth was supported by good weather and continuing robust consumer spending.

In the US, Miller's domestic sales to retailers (STRs) were 0.3% below prior year for the quarter, in a weak industry trading environment, which resulted in an increase in market share. Miller Lite sales, although cycling higher year-on-year comparables, continued to grow in line with our expectations.

Domestic STRs for the year to date were 1.5% higher than prior year. Domestic shipments to wholesalers (STWs) were in line with STRs on both a quarterly and year to date basis.

In Central America, trade purchases ahead of an anticipated excise increase contributed to a 3% growth in beer volumes in the quarter, and to 2% year to date. Carbonated soft drink volumes were down 8%, against 6% year to date, reflecting tough market conditions in El Salvador.

In Europe, organic lager volume growth for the third quarter was 6%, and 5% for the year to date, influenced by continuing strong performances from Poland, Russia and Romania, which more than offset weakness in Italy, Hungary and Slovakia.

Good growth in both Africa and Asia led to the business delivering a 10% increase, on a comparable basis, in organic lager volume over the third quarter of the prior year, in line with year to date growth.

"The group has continued the momentum of organic growth achieved in the first half of its financial year, and the financial performance has been in line with our expectations as outlined at the time of our interim results announcement," a statement concluded.