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COMMENT: S&N pubs still cloud future performance

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Yesterday in an AGM statement the UK brewer Scottish & Newcastle said it was confident of meeting its financial objectives for the year, despite what it called "variable" conditions in its major markets. An S&N trading statement indicates that it has gained market share in all of its beer operations. In the UK (29% of group EBIT), its top five brands in the UK grew by 3% in the year to date.  However, this compares with data released from the UK government yesterday that shows total beer volumes up 4.6% on a moving annual total basis and 4.8% on a quarter on quarter basis. "This suggests that the S&N are not necessarily out-performing the beer market," said Stuart Price of equity analyst WestLB Panmure in a research note.


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