SAB Miller beer brand Peroni

Lager sales at SABMiller were hit by poor weather in the quarter to 30 June

Poor weather and weak consumer sentiment held back growth in the northern hemisphere, brewing giant SABMiller has said in a trading update.

The company, which produces Grolsch, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Pilsner Urquell and Miller Genuine Draft, reported falling sales of lager in the first quarter, down 1% overall. Poor European performance was offset by stronger growth in African markets, up 8%, the company said, along with stable levels in Latin America, despite softer consumer spending, in the quarter ending 30 June.

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The UK saw lager volumes decline 8% due to the reduced discount level on Miller Genuine Draft, it said, a percentage point below that of Europe, which benefitted from volume growth of 13% in Romania.

Soft drinks grew 8% on an organic basis, SABMiller said, with growth coming from Latin America, Europe and Africa.

The underlying financial performance remains in line with expectations, the company added, with group revenue growing by 2%.

The company announced the retirement of independent non-executive director Cyril Ramaphosa from the board, effective from today.  

According to Nielsen, UK off-trade sales of Peroni Nastro Azzurro grew 8% to 80.9m, off volume sales up 5% (MAT to 27 April 2013), but sales of Grolsch fell 28.5% by value to £19.6m, off volumes down 25%.