February 10, 2009 / 2:04 PM / in 9 years

Molson Coors profit misses view

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Molson Coors Brewing Co (TAP.N) reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday, hurt by slowing beer sales, higher commodity costs and currency fluctuations, sending its shares down 8 percent.

The maker of Coors Light and Molson Canadian beer said fourth-quarter income from continuing operations tumbled 49 percent to $90.7 million, or 49 cents per share, from $176.2 million, or 96 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, the company earned 57 cents per share. Analysts on average were expecting 71 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.

Chief Executive Peter Swinburn said the stronger U.S. dollar, which reduces the value of overseas sales, accounted for 55 percent of the profit decline, while commodity price inflation added another $41 million in costs.

Worldwide beer volume fell 4.2 percent to 10.7 million barrels as the company’s U.S. sales volume is now considered part of its MillerCoors joint venture formed in July with SABMiller Plc SAB.L.

    Earlier on Tuesday, MillerCoors, the combined U.S. operations of Molson and Miller, said fourth-quarter underlying profit rose 16.5 percent as it accelerated its cost-saving targets and raised some prices. Net sales rose 3.

    Molson shares were down $3.23 at $37.27 on the New York Stock Exchange, while SABMiller was down 1.7 percent at 11.46 pounds in London.

    Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Dave Zimmerman and Lisa Von Ahn

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