SABMiller, the world's second largest beer maker, said on Thursday that its lager volumes shrank in the April-June period due to a cold and wet spring in Europe and North America.
The company, which derives two-thirds of its sales from emerging markets, said its lager volumes declined by 1 percent, although revenue increased by 2 percent on a like-for-like basis.
SABMiller, which also bottles soft drinks for Coca-Cola Co., is benefiting from strong demand for beer in developing economies, where rising incomes and populations support beer makers.
Higher spending power means consumers in those markets are trading up from home-brewed alcohol to branded beer. Emerging markets account for about 75% of the company's earnings, bolstering its business over rivals which have more exposure to recession-hit Western markets.
Prioritising higher-margin premium lagers and niche, craft brews is also key for SABMiller at a time when mainstream lager sales are under pressure in Western Europe and North America.
Alan Clark, Chief Executive of SABMiller, commented: "Our first quarter revenue growth was held back by unseasonably cold and wet conditions in many of our northern hemisphere markets, which negatively impacted beer consumption. This was offset by continued growth in our Latin America and Africa divisions."
Latin America and Africa revenue rose 6% and 10%, respectively. However, Asia Pacific revenue declined 2% and Europe revenue fell 1%. In North America, MillerCoors LLC--the joint venture between SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing Co. -- said U.S. domestic sales to retailers were down 4.4%.
SABMiller has operations in 75 countries across Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, North America and South America and sells approximately 21 billion litres of lager per year.
For more information on SABMiller, see the latest research: SABMiller
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