SABMiller has reported a fall in first-half profit margins after weak demand in China and competition in the Australian market damaged sales.

The world’s second largest brewer revealed its operating profit margin fell by 0.3% to 23.4% in the results released yesterday.

Bad weather damaged sales in China, said SABMiller chief executive Alan Clark and the company “had to increase promotional spend” in Australia to cope with “intense competition”, despite acquiring Foster’s in 2011.

The company reported $3.3 billion in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in the six months to the end of September. This fell short of the $3.4 billion analysts forecasted and was almost flat on last year’s result.

However, the brewer - which is behind Peroni, Grolsch and Miller Lite beer - did report that its net producer revenue was up by 5% and total drink volumes up by 1%.