Recovery prompts SABMiller to include Zimbabwe in results

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sabmiller United states

SABMiller has reported a slight rise in half year volumes as it includes its Zimbabwe associate in its latest trading update for the first time in almost five years.

For the six months to 30 September, SABMiller said global organic beer volumes were up 1 per cent compared to the prior year while the figure for soft drinks rose 2 per cent.

The results of its Zimbabwe associate, Delta Corporation Limited, were included in these figures for the first time since 2006 when SABMiller decided stop reporting due to the macroeconomic problems in the country. The year before that, Delta had stopped paying dividends and remitting capital due to foreign currency shortages.

Now that hyper-inflation is at an end following ‘dollarisation' of the economy in 2009, the results of Delta have been included in SABMiller results.

During the period total beverage volumes sold in the country, where Delta has a dominant 90 per cent share of the beer market and 85 per share of soft drink consumption, were over 1 million hectolitres.

Including Zimbabwe in the results gave SABMiller 11 per cent lager volume growth in Africa as opposed to 7 per cent without the country.

“White water rafting”

Talking about the challenges that Delta has faced in Zimbabwe, chief executive Joe Mutizwa said: “Managing the company over the last 8 years has been the business equivalent of white water rafting.”

Mutizwa said Delta has survived “a blinding macro-economic sandstorm” ​thanks to “perpetual vigilance and constant adaption”​ and is now better placed to face the challenges of the future.

Elsewhere SABMiller said there was some variation in global performance, especially related to larger sales. European larger volumes, for example, were down 5 per cent while in Asia volumes rose 10 per cent.

World Cup effect

Meanwhile in South Africa the World Cup failed to trigger a major increase in beer consumption as larger volumes were up just 3 per cent. SABMiller said the lack of an Easter peak held back the results.

Finally in Latin America larger volumes were marginally down on last year. Five ‘dry days’ around elections were partly to blame for this sluggish performance and results were also affected by poor weather. SAB Miller said bad weather also contributed to a 2 per cent drop in soft drink volumes in Central America.

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