SABMiller plc Trading Update

Posted: 17 October 2013 | SABMiller plc | No comments yet

SABMiller plc provides an update on trading during the six months ended 30 September 2013…

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SABMiller plc today provides an update on trading during the six months ended 30 September 2013. The calculation of the organic growth rates excludes the impact of acquisitions and disposals on net producer revenue and volumes.

Alan Clark, Chief Executive of SABMiller, commented:

“We achieved a strong performance across our African business and made good progress in building on our positions in Latin America, South Africa and the Asia Pacific region. Following a challenging start to the year, trading conditions in Europe and North America saw a modest improvement in the second quarter, although the consumer environments here are expected to remain under pressure. Despite current prevailing uncertainties about developing market economies, we remain confident in the long term growth prospects for the group.”

First half and second quarter highlights

  • Group net producer revenue (NPR) for the first six months grew by 4% and group NPR per hectolitre (hl) grew by 2% both on an organic, constant currency basis
  • For the second quarter group NPR grew by 6% and group NPR per hl grew by 3%, both on an organic, constant currency basis
  • Total beverage volumes grew by 2% for the first six months on an organic basis, with lager volumes up 1% and soft drinks volumes up 5%
  • Depreciation of key currencies against the US dollar will adversely impact reported results
  • The group’s financial performance is in line with expectations

Our first half group NPR growth was driven by our Latin America, Africa and South Africa: Beverages divisions, as we continued to expand our portfolios, the beer category and consumer reach in these regions. In Asia Pacific we saw good group NPR growth in China, while our brand restoration programme in Australia continues to deliver. Conditions remained more challenging in Europe and North America.

Latin America

Lager volume growth despite disruptive events in Colombia and an excise increase in Peru
Group NPR grew by 5% in Latin America on an organic constant currency basis, on the back of selective price increases. Lager volumes were up by 1%, with the second quarter impacted by disruptive events in Colombia, together with relatively softer economic conditions across the region. However, against this backdrop we continued gaining share of alcohol across all markets. In Colombia lager volumes were affected by national strikes and social unrest in July and August, constraining volume growth in the first half of the year to 1%. Águila Light continued to perform strongly in the period, growing by double digits, while our bulk packs also continued to drive growth. In Peru lager volumes returned to growth in the second quarter, despite the excise tax increase in May, although lager volumes declined by 1% overall in the first half. In Ecuador, Pilsener Light continued to grow strongly driving lager volume growth of 2% and making a positive contribution to brand mix. In Central America, lager volumes grew by 1% supported by a strong performance in the premium lager segment. Soft drinks volumes grew by 4% on an organic basis in Central America, despite intense competition.


Mixed performance in a challenging environment
In Europe, group NPR on an organic, constant currency basis declined by 1% as a volume decline of 2% on an organic basis was partially offset by an improvement in group NPR per hl. Lager volumes were down by 4% on an organic basis. Although the second quarter trend improved compared with the first quarter, continued economic uncertainty and weak consumer sentiment persisted across the region. Weather impacted our innovation launches and performance was also affected by the competitive environment. In Poland, volumes were down by 10%, impacted by the cycling of a strong prior year comparative and competitive intensity. Domestic volumes in the Czech Republic were down by 7% with the off-premise channel cycling a strong prior year assisted by the 2012 launch of seasonally focused Radlers. Volumes grew by 6% in Romania led by the continued strength of Ciucas in the PET offering and premium brand Ursus assisted by the launch of Ursus Cooler.In the UK, domestic volumes were up by 5% led by Peroni Nastro Azzurro with a strong second quarter performance. Grolsch premium extensions and innovations helped drive 3% domestic volume growth in the Netherlands. On an organic basis, Anadolu Efes volumes grew driven by soft drinks performance with lager volumes continuing to decline, predominantly in Turkey and Russia. On a reported basis Anadolu Efes soft drinks volumes benefited from the full consolidation of the Coca-Cola Icecek results.

North America

Growth in above premium fuelled by innovation
For the six months ended 30 September 2013, MillerCoors group NPR was in line with the prior year. Volume declines were offset by improved group NPR per hl driven by the strategic intent to benefit from positive sales mix and higher net pricing. On a trading day adjusted basis, US domestic sales to retailers (STRs) declined 3.2% for the half year, and by 1.9% in the second quarter. Premium light STRs declined mid-single digits in the quarter with Coors Light down low-single digits and Miller Lite down mid-single digits. Premium regular brands declined low-single digits in the quarter with double digit growth of Coors Banquet offset by a double digit decline of Miller Genuine Draft. The above premium portfolio grew by double digits driven by Redd’s and the continued strength of Tenth and Blake driven by the success of Leinenkugel’s Shandy variants. The below premium portfolio declined by mid-single digits. Domestic sales to wholesalers (STWs) for the second quarter were down by 1.5% compared with the same period in the prior year and were 3.5% lower for the half year.


Capacity expansions continue to drive growth
Group NPR in Africa grew by 11% on an organic, constant currency basis driven by total volume growth of 7% on an organic basis and pricing impacts. Lager volume growth of 9% on an organic basis was achieved through robust performances in a number of key markets. In Tanzania, lager volumes grew by 6%, supported by double digit growth of Castle Lite. Improved availability in Zambia assisted by the commissioning of the Ndola brewery continued to drive strong lager volume growth of 13%. Trading in Mozambique improved in the second quarter delivering lager volume growth for the first half of 4%. In Nigeria, capacity expansions continued to drive strong growth, largely due to the continued success of Hero Lager. Economic conditions in Uganda and South Sudan remained soft resulting in volumes declining compared with the prior period. Our associate Castel continued to deliver robust lager volume growth of 8% with Angola performing strongly during the period. Soft drinks volume growth of 8% reflected good performances in Ghana and Zambia, and from our associates Castel and Delta in Zimbabwe. Other alcoholic beverage volumes remained under pressure, ending the half year down 4% on an organic basis, principally as a result of the continuing impact of restrictive trading legislation in Botswana.

Asia Pacific

Group NPR growth driven by China
Asia Pacific group NPR grew by 2% on an organic, constant currency basis, despite being adversely impacted by the loss of discontinued brands in Australia. In Australia, continuing group NPR on a constant currency basis grew by 2% driven by a combination of price increases and premiumisation of the portfolio. Continuing volumes were 1% below the prior year reflecting the absence of an Easter period and subdued consumer confidence. CUB’s largest brand, Victoria Bitter, continued to grow, up 5%, although this positive performance was offset by a decline in Carlton Draught. Group NPR growth was also supported by the positive performance of the premium portfolio: Crown Lager volumes grew by 10% and Peroni Nastro Azzurro continued to grow strongly, up 25%. Total domestic volumes, including discontinued brands, were down by 7%. In China, group NPR grew by 14% on a constant currency basis reflecting relatively strong volume growth of 6% in a subdued industry and favourable mix. In India, group NPR on a constant currency basis grew by 1% with favourable pricing offsetting lower volumes, as a number of states introduced regulatory changes which unfavourably impacted sales and much of India was impacted by both the early onset and prolonged nature of the monsoon season.

South Africa: Beverages

Robust performance in a challenging trading environment
In South Africa, group NPR for the half year grew by 7% on an organic, constant currency basis, driven by volume growth, improved brand mix and pricing. This performance came against the absence of an Easter period and subdued consumer spending, partly due to increased inflationary pressures. Lager volumes grew strongly, rising by 3% for the first six months as a result of increased market facing activity and enhanced retail execution. Castle Lite and Castle Lager continued to perform well along with Carling Black Label returning to growth, although their volume gains were partially offset by a decline in Hansa Pilsener volumes. Soft drinks volumes grew by 1% in a challenging trading environment. Increased market penetration and a strong focus on customer service helped to drive higher volumes driven by lower margin brands in the sparkling drinks portfolio and a good performance in still soft drinks.

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