SABMiller first-half underlying sales rise

Brewer SABMiller has reported good underlying sales for the second quarter, a day after AB InBev agreed a £17bn merger

The company said growth accelerated in the second quarter, with underlying revenue up 4% and beverage volumes up 1%.

Revenue fell 12% from $11.3bn to $9.9bn and earnings before interest, tax and amorisation (EBITA) fell 11% to $2.9bn as a result of the depreciation of key operating currencies against the US dollar, the company said.

Alan Clark, chief executive of SABMiller, said: “We had a good first half, stripping out the effects of adverse exchange rates, with strong growth in Africa and Latin America and better mix across all of our regions. On an organic, constant currency basis, group earnings and margins improved as a result of growing volumes and NPR per hectolitre, and continued cost savings.

“In our African and Latin American markets, our affordability strategies are helping us to grow beer’s share of total alcohol. At the other end of the price ladder, our volume growth in premium lagers included particularly strong growth of our global premium brands. Our reported results were again negatively impacted by the depreciation of major operating currencies against the US dollar.”

Commenting on the results, Connor Campbell, senior market analyst at, said: “In all honesty, the contents of SABMiller’s half year report was always going to have a limited impact given that the beer-giant agreed terms for its £71 billion tie-up with AB InBev only yesterday.

“However, there is still some way to go before that takeover is completed, meaning investors would do well to keep an eye on SAB’s figures. Adverse currency headwinds dragged the company’s revenue from 4% growth to a 9% decline, whilst pre-tax profit plunged by a worrying 18%; to combat this SAB raised its dividend by 9%, in a fairly transparent move to draw attention away from its less-than-flattering numbers.”

The acquisition of SABMiller by AB InBev is expected to complete in the second half of 2016.