* Fourth-quarter adj earnings $0.69/shr vs est $0.64/shr
* Fourth-quarter revenue $1.03 bln vs est $1.07 bln
* StarBev buy helps boost sales
* Canada volumes fall 12 percent
By Siddharth Cavale
Feb 14 Molson Coors Brewing Co reported
a 28 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit as its tax bill
more than doubled and beer sales slumped in Canada, its top
While total beer volumes rose about 15 percent, helped by
the company's acquisition of central European beer maker StarBev
in June, volumes in Canada fell nearly 12 percent.
Molson's Canadian business, which accounted for about half
its fourth-quarter revenue of $1.03 billion, was hit by a 20
percent rise in beer excise tax rates in Quebec and the National
Hockey League lockout.
The brewer, known for its Molson Canadian and Miller Coors
beers, said sales-to-retail (STRs) in Canada fell 7 percent.
Molson Coors said market share in Canada fell about one
share point in the fourth quarter but that it did not expect a
further decline as the NHL lockout ended in January.
"They had already flagged a lot of issues and in Canada
there were big issues ... it looked pretty poor in the volume
point of view," Nomura Securities International analyst Ian
Shackleton said, adding that he expected volumes to normalize in
STRs in Canada increased in mid-single digit percentages in
the first four weeks of the first quarter, Chief Executive Peter
Swinburn said on an earnings conference call.
In the United States, STRs in the first four weeks of the
first quarter were down in the low single digits, he said.
Molson Coors said effective income tax rate more than
doubled from a year earlier. Statutory corporate income tax rate
in Serbia, jumped 50 percent in the quarter, it
The company entered east European markets such as the Czech
Republic, Serbia and Bulgaria with its $3.5 billion acquisition
of StarBev, the brewer of Staropramen beer.
Total beer volumes rose 15.3 percent to 14.1 million
hectoliters, helped by the acquisition of StarBev.
Underlying net income fell 28 percent in the quarter to
$126.1 million, or 69 cents per share. Gross margins fell to
37.2 percent from 41.6 percent a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned 69 cents per share.
Net sales rose 9.9 percent to $1.03 billion.
Analysts expected earnings of 64 cents per share on revenue
of $1.07 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
MillerCoors - the combined U.S. operations of Molson Coors
and SABMiller - also reported a fall in profit on
Thursday, due to increased marketing expenses.
Miller's marketing expenses included sponsorship of the
Mexican soccer league, Liga MX, and launching the new Coors
Light "Refreshing Can" in the second quarter of 2013.
Molson Coors shares were down 1 percent at $44.13 on
Thursday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange. SABMiller
shares closed down marginally at 3,189 pence on the London Stock