UPDATE 1-Growing African lager market boosts SABMiller sales

Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:23am EDT

(Adds CEO comment)

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) - SABMiller, the world's second-biggest brewer, reported higher first-quarter sales volumes on Thursday, helped by a return to growth in lager sales in Africa.

The London-listed company behind beers such as Miller, Grolsch and Peroni said revenue rose 6 percent in the three months to June 30, while volume sold was up 3 percent.

Volume of lager, SABMiller's core business, rose 1 percent, with a 3 percent increase in Africa and growth in China and Europe. Soft drinks volume, including drinks it sells for Coca-Cola, grew by 10 percent.

The company said its financial performance was in line with expectations.

"Strong growth in Africa, South Africa and Europe was balanced by slower momentum in North America and a reduction in (net producer revenue) in Australia in difficult trading conditions," said Chief Executive Alan Clark.

Lager volumes in Latin America declined by 2 percent, hurt by trading restrictions in Colombia, but returned to growth in Africa following earlier difficulties in countries including Mozambique and Uganda.

SABMiller shares were up 0.3 percent by 0811 GMT at 3375 pence. (Reporting by Martinne Geller in London; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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