Worldwide beer volumes at Molson Coors fell by almost 3% in the past three months, the Carling owner said yesterday.

Despite the slump, price hikes meant second-quarter sales were up 5.7% to $933.6m (£569.3m). But profits for the period fell 1.2% to $231.6m.

“Positive beer pricing, cost reductions in our core businesses and favourable foreign exchange rates were offset by the impact of continuing weak economic conditions, commodity inflation and investments in our international business in the quarter,” said chief executive Peter Swinburn.

Meanwhile, the company plans to return cash to shareholders via a buyback scheme worth up to $1.2bn.

“We are in a strong position to increase cash returns to Molson Coors shareholders while preserving the financial flexibility to explore growth opportunities and strengthen our balance sheet,” said chief financial officer Stewart Glendinning.

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