23 March 2004
SABMiller plc Trading Update
London and Johannesburg, 23 March 2004. SABMiller plc today issued the
following update on trading for the 11 months to February 2004, as the group's
financial year nears completion.
Organic lager volume growth continues, increasing by just over 3% for the 11
months to February 2004, and the group's operating performance remains strong.
Miller sales to retailers ('STRs') for the 11 months are down 2.7% on a pro
forma basis. This contrasts with the 9 month decline to December 2003, when STRs
were down 3.4%. The slowing of the volume decline trend can be attributed to
continued growth in Miller Lite brand sales offset by some weaker performances
elsewhere in the brand portfolio. There has been no material change in the level
of distributor inventories in the current year, following the reduction in the
prior year. Miller financial performance is ahead of our expectations reflecting
better Miller Lite volumes, efficiencies and improved effectiveness in marketing
spend, and benefits from restructuring. Overall, the execution of the Miller
turnaround strategy remains on schedule.
In Central America, beer volumes have grown by some 4%, whilst sales of
carbonated soft drinks are down 4.5% reflecting a slowing of the negative trend.
Our initiatives in improving the brand portfolios and stimulating growth in beer
consumption, together with benefits from lower costs following a wide-ranging
restructuring programme, have enhanced financial performance.
Volumes in our Europe business remain strong, with year to date organic lager
volumes some 8% above the prior year, leading to financial performance being in
line with our expectations. The integration projects within Peroni remain on
plan although its profitability for the period is impacted by integration costs
and significant investment behind our brands, particularly in support of the
launch of Miller Genuine Draft.
The Africa and Asia business has delivered an increase of some 3% in organic
lager volume over the prior year. The division is producing a strong operating
performance from its portfolio of businesses, and this has been enhanced by
favourable currency movements.
Beer South Africa has grown volumes by nearly 3% on a comparable basis, and ABI
has achieved carbonated soft drink volume growth of over 7%. Earnings in both
units reflect good underlying operating performances.
Our business has continued the momentum of organic growth achieved in the first
half of our financial year, with Miller and Central America delivering financial
performance above our expectations in the second half of the financial year to
Notes to Editors:
SABMiller plc is one of the world's largest brewers, with 2002/03 lager volumes
in excess of 115 million hectolitres. It has a brewing presence in over 40
countries across four continents and a portfolio of strong brands and leading
market shares in many of the countries in which it has brewing operations.
Outside the USA, SABMiller plc is one of the largest bottlers of Coca-Cola
products in the world.
In the year ended 31 March 2003, the group generated US$770 million pre-tax
profit from a turnover of US$9,112 million. SABMiller plc is listed on the
London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.
This announcement is available on the company website. www.sabmiller.com
Director of Corporate Affairs Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7659 0184
SABMiller plc Mob: + 44 (0) 7850 285471
VP of Investor Relations Tel: +44 (0) 20 7659 0174
SABMiller plc Mob: +44 (0) 7717 428540
Head of Corporate Communications (Finance) Tel: +44 (0) 20 7659 0105
SABMiller plc Mob: +44 (0) 7799 894265
This information is provided by RNS
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