Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 16:05 UK

SABMiller fizzes on price rises

Waitresses carry bottles of Snow beer in a restaurant in China
Beer sales in China were held back by bad weather

SABMiller said price rises would help it record full year profits at the top end of its guidance, despite slowing beer sales and higher costs.

Organic growth in lager volumes rose 7% in the year to 31 March, compared with a 9% gain in the nine months to December, the UK-listed firm said.

Bad weather, particularly in China, was partly to blame for a slowdown in the December to March period, it said.

Price rises across its range, which includes Peroni, also dented growth.

SABMiller also makes Carling Black Label, Miller Lite and Pilsener Urquell.

The brewer is charging more for its beer worldwide to offset the surging cost of barley, hops and aluminium.

Tough conditions

Sales in Europe rose 8%, with "satisfactory growth" in the last quarter, compared with the previous year, when the weather was better.

No figures were given for its UK business, which has in the past been boosted by its Polish brands, including Lech and Tyskie.

In the US, sales rose 0.7% without accounting for gains from acquisitions.

Trading in emerging markets, including Latin America, South Africa and China was equally subdued.

Severe blizzards in China and "significant price increases" hurt sales at China Resources Snow Breweries, in which SAB has a 49% stake.


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