Beverage News / Beer

SABMiller beverage volume up 3 percent in Q1

International markets driving beer, soft drink growth

London-based SABMiller plc reported total beverage volume growth of 3 percent, on an organic basis, in its first quarter of 2014, which ended June 30. In addition, the company’s group net producer revenue (NPR) was up 6 percent, and group NPR per hectoliter was up 3 percent, both on an organic, constant currency basis, in the term.

More specifically, lager volumes were up 1 percent on an organic basis, driven mostly by China, Europe and Africa. Soft drink volumes grew 10 percent on an organic basis, driven by strong growth in Latin America, Europe, South Africa and Africa, it says.

“We continued to drive strong NPR growth across our businesses,” said Alan Clark, chief executive officer, in a statement. “This has been achieved through our prolonged success in building local and global flagship brands across our broad geographic footprint, together with innovations and improved trade execution. Strong growth in Africa, South Africa and Europe was balanced by slower momentum in North America and a reduction in NPR in Australia in difficult trading conditions. Latin America performed well despite a number of one-off trading restrictions in Colombia.”

In North America, group NPR was up 3 percent, driven by MillerCoors' group NPR growth of 2 percent, with lower volumes offset by positive sales mix and higher net pricing. U.S. domestic volume sales to retailers (STRs) declined 1.2 percent in the quarter. Premium light STRs declined low-single digits, reflecting a low-single-digit decline in both Miller Lite and Coors Light, which was partially offset by the launch of Coors Light Summer Brew. Premium regular brands declined low-single digits with the high-single-digit growth of Coors Banquet offset by a double-digit decline in Miller Genuine Draft.

In line with the strategy to improve its above-premium mix, total above-premium STRs grew double digits in the term, driven by the Redd's franchise and innovations such as Miller Fortune and Smith & Forge Hard Cider. Within above-premium, the Tenth and Blake division declined low-single digits, with high-single-digit growth coming from the Leinenkugel's portfolio, low-single-digit growth coming from Blue Moon Belgian White, and a high-single-digit decline coming from Blue Moon seasonals.

The below-premium portfolio declined mid-single digits, while domestic sales to wholesalers (STWs) in terms of volume declined 1.7 percent in the quarter.

SABMiller plc notes that this financial performance is in line with expectations.

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