SABMiller: Consumer demand hit by global slowdown

Brewing giant SABMiller reported a 1% fall in third-quarter worldwide underlying beer volumes on Thursday, below expectations, with consumer demand hit by the current global economic slowdown.

The volume fall from the London-based brewer of Miller Lite, Peroni and Grolsch for the October to December quarter was below analysts’ expectations for a 1,3% to 3% rise.

But the brewer, number two in the world after Anheuser-Busch InBev, said its financial performance in the quarter was in line with its expectations supported by higher beer prices and cost efficiencies.

Analysts said beer volumes were particularly weak in Colombia, Botswana and Russia, but there were strong performances from South Africa, Peru, Ecuador and Romania.

The group, which also brews Castle Lager, Snow and Pilsner Urquell, had already cautioned back in November that prospects for its financial year to March 2009 were “increasingly uncertain” due to deteriorating global economic conditions, weakening consumer demand and volatile foreign exchange rates.—Reuters

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