By James Atkinson

Asahi Group Holdings' Australia and New Zealand businesses over delivered against both sales and profit targets for the financial year ended December 31, 2014.

Asahi this week said the Oceania region's favourable result was mainly driven by growth in its non-alcohol business and Australian alcohol business, which offset a poor performance by alcohol in NZ.

In Australia, Asahi said cola was impacted by negative market trends but this was mitigated by growth in water and non-cola, leading to overall profit growth.

The company said it grew cider and imported premium beer significantly ahead of the market, driven by strong performances respectively from Somersby and Asahi Super Dry.

Somersby grew 14 per cent last year to achieve a 30 per cent market share of cider by volume.

Meanwhile, ready-to-drink overcame tough market conditions, outstripping both sales and profit targets, mainly driven by improvement of core RTD brand, Vodka Cruiser.

As well as an "improved product mix", Asahi said Australia achieved synergy benefits flowing from supply chain management integration and indirect cost reduction activities.

The Oceania business increased earnings by 43.5 per cent to $108 million, on the back of a six per cent increase in revenue to $1.7 billion.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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