The world's second largest brewer SABMiller beat analysts' projections with a 3 per cent increase in quarterly volumes, thanks largely to growth in Africa and Asia. The brewer said it expected improvement in economic conditions in many of its emerging markets to drive further growth in volumes.
According to analysts, the brewer which has a strong presence in emerging markets has been able to escape the difficulties experienced by others that are largely centred on European beer markets that have remained flat. They add however that like its rivals the brewer would face higher input costs in the future with barley and corn prices rising.
The London-based brewer with brands like Miller Lite, Peroni and Grolsch raised beer prices to boost its quarterly revenue by 6 per cent and said improving conditions in Europe had helped to compensate for a fall in Colombia, which has seen the heaviest rains in 50 years.
Falling volumes in both North and South America were compensated by robust volume growth in Asia and Africa in its October-December third quarter. The brewer is heavily dependent on summer beer drinking in the southern markets of South Africa and Latin America.
SABMiller's volume growth in Asia came on a16 per cent gain in China which represents about 20 per cent of SABMiller's volume, though only 2 per cent of operating profit, according to analysts.
Growth in the Africa region stood at 8 per cent excluding Zimbabwe, where SABMiller performance recovered markedly with the stabilisation of the country.