SABMiller plc September trading statement
29 September 2003
London and Johannesburg. Prior to the announcement of its interim results due in November, SABMiller plc has provided an update to the trading statement made at the Company's AGM on 30 July 2003.
Group financial performance in the five-month period to 31 August 2003 was strong, with the European, South African and Africa and Asian businesses each delivering good earnings growth. In North and Central America the performance of our businesses has been in line with our previously announced expectations.
Organic volume growth in lager was almost 4% across the Group. In Europe, organic volume was up 8% driven primarily by a strong performance in Russia and higher sales in Czech compared to the same period in the prior year, when sales were affected by the severe flooding. Satisfactory progress is being made with integrating the recent Peroni acquisition into the Group.
The Africa and Asia business delivered a 3% increase in organic volume growth over the prior year despite the negative impact of SARS in China and economic turmoil in Zimbabwe. The East African restructuring initiatives have enhanced the performance of our operation in this region.
In South Africa, beer volumes have continued to grow, and for the period to mid-September were up by 2.5% on the prior year after adjusting for the timing of Easter. Beer continues to gain share of the total liquor market at the expense of wine and spirits.
In North America, Miller Brewing Company volumes trended lower for the period to mid September, in line with expectations, being down some 4.5%. Further restructuring initiatives were commenced during the period, which will assist the cost base going forward.
Economic conditions in both Honduras and El Salvador remain subdued. Whilst beer volumes have grown by almost 3%, competitive pressure in the carbonated soft drink market continues to impact our Central American business, with volumes down 8%. The focus has been on re-energising the CSD brand portfolio and repositioning and re-launching our beer brands, whilst previous cost rationalisation activities are yielding benefits.
Strong business performance assisted by favourable currency movements have led to adjusted earnings per share for the Group showing a satisfactory increase compared with the previous year.
For further information:
Director of Corporate Affairs
Tel: +44 207 659 0191
Mob: +44 7850 285471
Anna Miller Salzman
Head of Investor Relations
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7659 0106
Mob: +44 (0) 7973 837070
Head of Financial Media
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7659 0105
Mob: +44 (0) 7799 894 265
The Maitland Consultancy Ltd
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7379 5151
Mob: +44 (0) 7887 954 048
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.