London - Global brewer SABMiller [JSE:SAB] reported a 3%
rise in beer volumes in the last three months of 2011 to match forecasts, led
by the emerging markets of Africa and Latin America which helped offset falls
in North America and Europe.
The world’s second-largest brewer and maker of Miller Lite,
Peroni and Grolsch said on Thursday that beer price rises helped the group
push up its underlying revenue in its October-December third quarter by 7%.
London-based SABMiller added its financial performance was
in line with its expectations as price rises helped offset moderate rises in
raw materials like barley, wheat and corn as analysts look for flat profit
margins for its year.
The brewer, which makes 70% of profits in emerging markets,
has been helped by its lower exposure to flat Western beer markets compared to
its three big rivals Anheuser-Busch InBev, Heineken and Carlsberg.
Investors were looking for a 3% rise in underlying
third-quarter volumes, based on a Reuters survey of 10 brokers. This was after
a similar April-September first-half rise made up of a strong first quarter,
ahead 5%, and a flat second quarter hit by rain and cold weather in China and
SABMiller shares have risen 10% from a low in late November
of 2.075 pence, reflecting the resilience of emerging market exposure and
closing on Wednesday at 2.296 pence.
The brewer - which also makes Castle, Snow, Pilsner Urquell
and Aquila beers - said third-quarter underlying volumes rose 11% in Africa,
were up 8% in Latin America, 7% ahead in Asia Pacific and 2% firmer in South
Europe continued weak with a quarterly 2% fall and in the
United States, where it operates through its MillerCoors joint venture,
quarterly sales to retailers fell 3.3%.
The brewer has been busy deal-making, buying Australia's
Foster's last month for $11.9bn, swapping its Russian and Ukrainian units last
October for 24% of Turkey’s Anadolu Efes, and this month saying it would be
keen to buy Castel's African brewing business in a potential $10bn deal after
forging closer ties with the private French group.
Other big brewers report the October-December quarter and
2011 results over the coming weeks with Heineken on February 15, Carlsberg
February 20 and the world's largest beermaker AB-InBev on March 8.