Brewer SABMiller says lager volumes lifted by Africa, Asia

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Britain-based brewing giant SABMiller said Tuesday that lager volumes grew in the third quarter of its financial year on the back of a strong showing in emerging markets in Africa and Asia.

Lager volumes rose three percent in the three months to December, compared with a year earlier, SABMiller said in a statement. That beat expectations for a 1.7-percent rise, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

"Continued improvement in economic conditions in many of our emerging markets assisted our volume performance," noted SABMiller, whose products include Grolsch, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell beers.

"We have benefited from lower costs of certain raw materials whilst continuing selectively to increase investment in brands and operations," it said.

"The group's financial performance in the quarter was in line with our expectations."

SABMiller, which is the world's second-biggest brewer by volume after Anheuser-Busch InBev, is investing more in developing economies to offset sluggish sales and subdued consumer sentiment in mature markets.

More than 80 percent of the group's profits are now derived from emerging market economies.

Late last year, SABMiller announced its entry into Argentina after agreeing to buy CASA Isenbeck from German rival Warsteiner Group for an undisclosed sum.

CASA Isenbeck, Argentina's third largest brewer, is known for beer brands Isenbeck and Warsteiner.

© 2011 AFP

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