By James Atkinson

Brewing giant SABMiller says the integration of the Foster's business is progressing well, despite the loss of close to a million hectolitres worth of licence and import arrangements.

Releasing its annual results for the year ended March 31, SABMiller confirmed it had lost contracts with a combined annual volume base of about 915,000 hectolitres since taking over Foster's.

But it said the loss of the international brands including Corona, Stella Artois and Asahi "was a known risk at the time of the acquisition".

SABMiller said reported EBITA for the Asia Pacific grew by 247 per cent mainly due to the addition of Foster's. On an organic, constant currency basis, EBITA for the region grew by 30 per cent.

Carlton & United Brewers' full-year lager volumes in Australia were 4 per cent below the prior year, largely due to subdued consumer sentiment.

"EBITA also declined on a pro forma basis as a result of the lower volumes and increased commercial investment," SABMiller said.

But it said CUB continued to grow its presence in the mainstream beer segment with robust growth of Carlton Dry and the successful launch of the Great
Northern Brewing Co brand.

"The traditional regular mainstream segment, which includes Victoria Bitter, declined at a higher rate than the market, however Carlton Draught managed to consolidate share," it said.

"Premium volumes performed more strongly, with encouraging results from focused execution and expansion of the owned premium portfolio including Crown Lager."

"Volume improvements in the rapidly expanding craft segment were driven by Matilda Bay Fat Yak Pale Ale."

The Shout Team

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

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