SABMiller plc January trading update
18 January 2005
Following the summer peak season in South Africa, SABMiller plc today issued the following trading update for the group's third quarter and for its financial year to date comprising the nine months ended 31 December 2004.
The group's volume growth for the third quarter was strong, with organic growth of some 5% in total lager beer volumes. Beer South Africa volumes grew by 4% on a comparable basis, in line with year to date. ABI achieved a volume growth of 6%, against year to date growth of 7%. South African volume growth was supported by good weather and continuing robust consumer spending.
Miller's domestic sales to retailers (STRs) were 0.3% below prior year for the quarter, in a weak industry trading environment, which resulted in an increase in market share. Miller Lite sales, although cycling higher year-on-year comparables, continued to grow in line with our expectations. Domestic STRs for the year to date were 1.5% higher than prior year. Domestic shipments to wholesalers (STWs) were in line with STRs on both a quarterly and year to date basis.
In Central America , trade purchases ahead of an anticipated excise increase contributed to a 3% growth in beer volumes in the quarter, and to 2% year to date. Carbonated soft drink volumes were down 8%, against 6% year to date, reflecting tough market conditions in El Salvador.
In Europe, organic lager volume growth for the third quarter was 6%, and 5% for the year to date, influenced by continuing strong performances from Poland, Russia and Romania, which more than offset weakness in Italy, Hungary and Slovakia.
Good growth in both Africa and Asia led to the business delivering a 10% increase , on a comparable basis, in organic lager volume over the third quarter of the prior year, in line with year to date growth.
The group has continued the momentum of organic growth achieved in the first half of its financial year, and the financial performance has been in line with our expectations as outlined at the time of our interim results announcement.
Notes to Editors
SABMiller plc is one of the world's largest brewers, with 2003/04 lager volumes in excess of 137 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 2004, the group generated US$1,391 million pre-tax profit from a turnover of US$12,645 million. SABMiller plc is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.
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