SABMiller beat forecasts with 3% rise

Brewing giant SABMiller beat forecasts with a 3% rise in beer volumes in the first three months of 2011 on Tuesday as emerging markets in Africa and Asia offset tougher markets elsewhere in the world.

The world’s second largest brewer said that underlying beer volumes for its full year to end-March were up 2%, while price rises pushed its annual revenue up by about 5%.

London-based SABMiller, brewer of Miller Lite, Peroni and Grolsch, said that raw material costs were marginally lower for its full year although they increased in the second half.

Beer volumes were led by its Africa and Asia regions, while Latin America and Europe returned to growth in its fourth quarter (January to March), South Africa was unchanged and the United States saw a volume fall.

The brewer, which earns over 80% of its profits in emerging markets, added that trading had been in line with management’s expectations for the full year.

Investors were looking for a 1,7% rise in underlying fourth quarter volumes based on a Reuters poll of eight brokers and came after a 3% third-quarter rise. Second quarter volumes turned positive with a 3% rise after a 1% first-quarter fall. – Reuters

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