SABMiller full-year proft up 26 percent

LONDON (AP) — SABMiller, the world’s second-largest brewer, says its full-year profit rose 26 percent as the company posted gains in lager volumes and margins.

For the year ending March 13, the maker of Peroni, Grolsch and Miller Lite said Thursday that its net profit was $2.4 billion, compared to $1.9 billion in the previous year.

Revenue rose 7 percent to $28.3 billion. Lager volume was up 2 percent while pretax margin increased by nearly 18 percent.

SABMiller shares were up 0.6 percent at 2,279 pence in early trading on the London Stock Exchange.

“The results testify to SAB’s developing market story in our view, with Africa and South Africa both well ahead of expectations,” Investec Securities analysts Martin Deboo and Gideon Adler said in a research note.

Volume increases of 10 percent in Asia, 13 percent in Africa (excluding South Africa) compensated for difficult markets in Europe and North America, where volumes declined by 3 percent. Volume in South Africa rose 2 percent.

MillerCoors, the U.S. joint venture in which SABMiller has a 58 percent stake, reported volume down 3 percent but revenue grew because of price increases and low single-digit volume growth at the premium end of the market.

Looking ahead, SABMiller said the North American and European markets will remain difficult because of uncertainties about the pace of economic recovery, but the company plans to continue with selective prices increases.

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