/ 19 November 2009

SABMiller first-half profits up

World number two brewer SABMiller beat forecasts on Thursday with a 6% rise in first-half profit and said its second half should be boosted by a fall in input costs and favourable currency movements.

The London-based brewer of Miller Lite, Peroni and Grolsch beers reported adjusted earnings per share of 80 US cents for the six months to end-September.

Although the brewer said current trading conditions are set to continue into the second half, it added that input costs will begin to ease towards the end of this year and its second half will benefit from exchange-rate benefits.

”The group’s financial position remains strong and we are well positioned to take advantage of future improvements in the market environment,” the group said in a results statement.

The half-year dividend rose 6% to 17 cents a share.

The brewer, which earns nearly 90% of its profits from emerging markets like South Africa, Colombia, Poland and China, made no mention of Mexico’s second biggest brewer, FEMSA Cerveza, after analysts said they see SABMiller as the frontrunner to buy the business. — Reuters