31 July 2002
London and Johannesburg, 31 July 2002. At the Annual General Meeting of
SABMiller plc held today at the May Fair Intercontinental, London, W1A 2AN, the
Chief Executive reported, following a review by the Chairman of developments
over the year ended 31 March 2002 and the closing of the transaction with Philip
Morris Companies Inc. for the acquisition of Miller Brewing Company announced on
9 July 2002:
'Overall, group financial performance for the quarter to 30 June 2002 is
satisfactory and earnings per share are in line with the comparable period last
year, notwithstanding the significant devaluation of Southern African currencies
that occurred in the latter part of 2001.
'Our European businesses have performed well, with better than expected volume
growth for the first quarter, a trend that has continued into July. Volumes in
both the key markets of Poland and the Czech Republic are up some 8% on prior
year, with positive performance also coming from Hungary, though volumes in
Russia have been disappointing. Financial performance continues to be strong.
'In our Africa/Asia businesses, Africa volumes of both beer and CSDs are
currently running ahead of prior year, with Botswana, Tanzania, Angola and
Mozambique all showing good growth, and overall beverage volumes are in line
with expectations. Earnings from Africa are ahead of prior year. In China,
restructuring and consolidation of the significant strategic acquisitions made
last year continue according to plan and profits have improved.
'The rationalisation and integration programme for our Central American
businesses is proceeding, as we drive for improved efficiencies in
manufacturing, distribution and sales. In the market place, competitive
pressures have impacted volumes and revenues, and earnings are behind
'In South Africa, beer volumes are cumulatively down 2.8% on the prior year,
affected by the timing of Easter, which fell into the prior financial year.
Adjusting for this, volumes are approximately level with those of the
comparative period. ABI has shown good growth on prior year and a particularly
strong performance was achieved by our Hotel and Gaming group. A stronger than
predicted rand exchange rate has assisted the South African operations to
deliver profit performance ahead of expectations.
'Turning to our newly acquired subsidiary Miller Brewing Company, which will be
consolidated from July 2002, trading conditions at Miller for the quarter to
June 2002 were broadly in line with expectations. A decline in sales volumes of
slightly less than 2%, following cooler springtime weather conditions
experienced in parts of the United States, was offset by better pricing trends,
lower raw material costs and higher contract brewing volumes.'
At the Annual General Meeting, shareholders approved with the requisite
majorities, all the resolutions put to the meeting, including the declaration of
the final dividend.
COMPANY SECRETARY SABMiller plc
ONE STANHOPE GATE, LONDON W1K 1AF
31st JULY 2002
Nick Chaloner Tel: +44 20 7659 0119
Director of Communications
Ciaran Baker Tel: +44 20 7659 0120
Tanya Tracey Tel: +44 20 7659 0105
Caroline Metcalfe Tel: +44 20 7659 0113
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