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SABMiller’s First Half Up Sharply

November 20, 2003

LONDON (AP) _ Brewing giant SABMiller’s first-half profit rose 93 percent, boosted by favorable currency rates and the acquisition of Miller beer last year.

SABMiller, the world’s second-largest brewer by volumes, said profit in the six months ended Sept. 30 increased to $309 million from $160 million last year.

London-based SABMiller’s closely watched earnings before interest, tax, goodwill and exceptional items increased to $889 million from $553 million a year earlier

Sales increased 59 percent to $6.33 billion.

Miller volumes were down by 4.4 percent in the United States, and Miller Lite volumes were down by 1 percent, but by the year end the Miller Lite brand could stabilize, the company said.

South African Breweries bought Miller for $5.6 billion last year to form SABMiller. The new brand contributed to only three months of earnings in the first half of the company’s fiscal 2002.

In the fiscal year ended March 31, Miller helped the company’s sales soar to $9.1 billion from $4.3 billion.

However, years of under-investment by previous owner Philip Morris mean it continues to lose market share to Anheuser-Busch Cos Inc. and Adolph Coors Company in the United States.

Miller Lite has increased in popularity recently, helped in part by marketing drives and the rise of low-carbohydrate diets.

Speaking on a conference call to reporters, SABMiller PLC’s Chief Executive Graham Mackay said while SABMiller had benefited from favorable currency conditions, it had seen good organic growth across some regions, particularly in Europe.

He said organic growth would continue in the second half, but probably not at the same rate as the first half due to less favorable currency conditions.

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