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SABMiller plc Trading Update

15 October 2009

Three men holding bottles of Aguila

SABMiller plc today provided an update regarding trading during the six-month period ended 30 September 2009, which is the first half of its financial year.  The calculation of the organic growth rates below excludes the effects of acquisitions and disposals. 

Lager volumes for the first six months, on an organic basis, declined by 1% compared to the prior year, reflecting difficult trading conditions across many of our markets, while soft drinks volumes were 1% ahead.  During the period, group revenue was supported by price increases taken in the prior year.  Financial performance for the half year was in line with our expectations. 

In Latin America, lager volumes for the first half declined by 1%.  Lager volumes in Colombia were 2% below the prior year which benefited from increased sales in September 2008 ahead of a 1 October price increase.  However, year to date volumes through to 13 October were approximately level with the prior year.  Against strong prior year comparative growth, lager volumes in Peru declined by 2% although we gained significant market share in a declining market as the effects of a weak economy were compounded by social disruption and transportation strikes during the second quarter.  Ecuador continued to perform well with lager volumes growing 7% due to higher consumer disposable income together with marketing and distribution initiatives.  Panama's lager volumes were 2% above the prior year.  In Honduras, total volumes were level with the prior year. 

Europe lager volumes were down 6% on an organic basis as adverse economic conditions in the region continued to depress consumer spending.  In Poland, volumes were down 4% for the half year but we increased market share and delivered marginal volume growth in the second quarter.  In the Czech Republic, domestic volumes declined 3%, with performance improving in the second quarter, driven by higher levels of trade investment and growth in off-premise share.  The economic environment continued to deteriorate in Romania and, despite improved market share, organic volumes for the half declined 12% following strong prior year comparative growth of 24%.  In Russia, weakening consumer spending resulted in the beer market declining 6%, and our volumes were down 12% on an organic basis as our portfolio was impacted by down trading.  In a weak market, volumes for the UK grew 15% on a like for like basis. 

In the six months ended 30 September 2009, MillerCoors U.S. domestic volume sales to retailers ("STRs") were down 1.0% on a pro forma1  basis.  For the second quarter, MillerCoors STRs were down 1.3% against the prior year with equal trading days in the period.  ‬‪Premium light brand volumes were down low single digits in the quarter due to a mid single digit decline in Miller Lite and a slight decline in Coors Light partially offset by continued strong growth of MGD 64.  The craft and import portfolio grew slightly during the quarter, driven by high single digit growth of Blue Moon.  The below premium portfolio grew low single digits with double digit growth from Keystone Light and continued growth in Miller High Life.  ‬Domestic sales to wholesalers ("STWs") were down 0.7% against the prior year for the second quarter.  ‪‬‪

Africa delivered lager volume growth of 3% on an organic basis.  Soft drinks sales in Africa grew 5% on an organic basis with good performances across the region.  Uganda continued its strong performance with lager volumes 18% ahead of the prior year supported by capacity commissioned during the second quarter, while lager volumes in Zambia grew 23% assisted by the excise reduction in March 2009.  Mozambique lager volumes grew 7% reflecting increased distribution and marketing initiatives.  Our associate Castel continued to perform well, particularly in Angola.  Tanzania held market share although lager volumes were 6% below the prior year as we cycled strong comparative growth and the effects of a soft economy were compounded by drought in the north.  Botswana continued to be impacted by the 30% social levy on alcohol introduced in November 2008 which, combined with an economic slowdown, drove lager volumes down 47%. 

Lager volumes in Asia increased by 9% on an organic basis.  In China, CR Snow continued to deliver strong performance with lager volumes growing 12% during the first half and market share increasing further, although wet weather and flooding in the Central and Southern regions slowed momentum in the second quarter.  Our lager volumes in India were 22% below the prior year due largely to disputes over pricing and excise increases in some regions. 

In South Africa, our lager volumes were 3% down and market share declined marginally during the period, in a market that continued to be impacted by reduced consumer spending and lower sales in the Western Cape, as a result of the restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages.  Soft drinks volumes were down 2%, in line with the market. 
 

1 MillerCoors pro forma figures are based on the comparable volumes for Miller and Coors' US and Puerto Rico operations for the six months ended September 2008.


- ENDS -


About SABMiller plc

SABMiller plc is one of the world's largest brewers with brewing interests and distribution agreements across six continents. The group's wide portfolio of brands includes premium international beers such as Grolsch, Miller Genuine Draft, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell, as well as market-leading local brands such as Aguila, Castle, Miller Lite, Snow and Tyskie.  SABMiller is also one of the largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products in the world.

In the year ended 31 March 2009, the group reported US$3,405 million adjusted pre-tax profit and group revenue of US$25,302 million. SABMiller plc is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

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Enquiries:  
  
SABMiller plc  
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Sue Clark 
Director of Corporate Affairs 
Tel: +44 20 7659 0184
  
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Tel: +44 20 7659 0174
  
Nigel Fairbrass 
Media Relations 
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This announcement does not constitute an offer to sell or issue or the solicitation of an offer to buy or acquire securities of SABMiller plc (the "Company") or any of its affiliates in any jurisdiction or an inducement to enter into investment activity.

This document includes "forward-looking statements".  These statements may contain the words "anticipate", "believe", "intend", "estimate", "expect" and words of similar meaning.  All statements other than statements of historical facts included in this announcement, including, without limitation, those regarding the Company's financial position, business strategy, plans and objectives of management for future operations (including development plans and objectives relating to the Company's products and services) are forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions regarding the Company's present and future business strategies and the environment in which the Company will operate in the future.  These forward-looking statements speak only as at the date of this announcement.  The Company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to disseminate any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained in this announcement to reflect any change in the Company's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based. Any information contained in this announcement on the price at which the Company's securities have been bought or sold in the past, or on the yield on such securities, should not be relied upon as a guide to future performance.

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