Review of Operations
Beer South Africa
 
2003 
2002 
Financial summary
US$m 
US$m 
% change 
Turnover

1,270 

1,112 

14 

EBITA
338 
287 
18 
EBITA margin (%)
26.6 
25.8 
 
Sales volume (hls 000s)*
24,428 
24,426 
 
Far right
Ibhayi Brewery,
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Near right
Cricket sponsorship
in South Africa
 

Volumes grew by 0.8%, despite the continuing tough trading conditions and the period under review not benefiting from the inclusion of Easter. Positive growth in the second half of the year, particularly over the important peak season, was driven by favourable weather conditions and the diminishing surplus in the wine lake. Beer price increases at the retail level were lower than for other liquor types, with evidence of some volume flow back to beer.

Operating performance, particularly relating to efficiencies and reliability, is at record levels. Operating margins are up 80 basis points to 26.6%, notwithstanding the continued focus on cost productivity being offset somewhat by significant increases in raw material prices. Continued focus on operating performance and asset management boosted EVA growth to a creditable 19% on a five year compounded basis while working capital reflected improvement for the eighth consecutive year.

Marketing spend on new product development has increased, with a number of brands launched during the year and the company well positioned to go to market with exciting new offerings during this year. Sterling Light Lager was launched during the year and received immediate consumer acceptance. Redd's has gained significant share through the 660ml returnable pack. Brutal Fruit, launched as a new brand in June 2002, has shown significant potential but has been constrained by packaging supply limitations since its launch.

Castle was a major sponsor of the recent Cricket World Cup tournament held in South Africa. This event provided an excellent opportunity to support the brand with a new advertising campaign and promotional activity.

The premium/light market segment reflected double digit growth. Two of SABMiller's international brands, Pilsner Urquell and Miller Genuine Draft, will be added to this segment to broaden the local portfolio during the early part of the current financial year. This follows agreement between SAB Ltd and Heineken NV that their joint venture in South Africa to brew and distribute the Heineken brand would end. The existing arrangement for the brewing and distribution of the Amstel brand through the SAB Ltd network remains unchanged.

Revised Liquor Bill legislation is expected to be finalised in 2003. Assurances from the relevant government department regarding the retention by manufacturers of their depots, and their ability to deliver direct to retailers, have again been confirmed as remaining intact.

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