REFILE-UPDATE 2-SABMiller beer volumes disappoint, shares fall

Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:29am EST

By Martinne Geller

LONDON Jan 21 (Reuters) - SABMiller, the world's No. 2 brewer, reported disappointing third-quarter sales, hurt by weaker beer volume, sending its shares down 2 percent in morning trading.

The maker of beers including Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Grolsch said on Tuesday that net producer revenue rose 4 percent for the quarter ended Dec. 31, in line with its expectations.

Sales volume climbed 2 percent, as a 7 percent gain in soft drinks was tempered by a 1 percent gain in lager that was below some analysts' estimates.

Morgan Stanley, for example, had expected lager volume of 3 percent, while Citi expected lager volume of 1.4 percent.

"SABMiller's Q3 trading statement was beneath market expectations at lager volume level, despite some useful emerging markets volume growth," said analysts at Oriel Securities. "Moreover, reported earnings remain under pressure from currency headwinds."

The company cited price increases and volume growth in emerging markets of Africa, Latin America and China, but also said results were hurt by the depreciation of key currencies against the U.S. dollar, notably the South African rand, Australian dollar, Peruvian Nuevo sol and Colombian peso.

In Europe and North America, the company said trading continued to be plagued by weak consumer sentiment.

Beer lager rose 6 percent in Africa, 2 percent in Latin America and 13 percent in China, but fell in Europe, Australia and North America.

Shares of SABMiller, the first big brewer to give an update for the most recent quarter, were down 1.4 percent at 3050.5 pence at 1014 GMT.