SABMiller's Revenue Rises 5%

SABMiller plc reported its preliminary (unaudited) results for the twelve months to 31 March 2015.

Highlights
Organic, constant currency group net producer revenue (NPR) growth of 5%
Group NPR per hectolitre (hl) up 3% on an organic, constant currency basis, reflecting growth in all regions
Organic, constant currency EBITA growth of 6% and EBITA margin1 expansion of 30 basis points (bps)
Adjusted constant currency EPS grew by 5% and by 6% excluding the prior year net earnings impact of the group's disposed investment in Tsogo Sun Holdings Limited (Tsogo Sun) Reported group NPR, EBITA and adjusted EPS declined, impacted by adverse translational foreign exchange effects and the disposal of Tsogo Sun
Free cash flow2 increased by 26%
Announcement of the formation of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), the largest bottler in Africa, strengthening further our leading presence on the African continent
Full year dividends per share of 113.0 US cents, up 8% on prior year

Other performance highlights

Lager volumes level year on year, with growth in Africa and Latin America offset by volume weakness in China and North America. China returned to growth during the last three months of the year.
Soft drinks volume growth of 8%, and the alliance with The Coca-Cola Company strengthened.
Depreciation of all our key currencies against the US dollar impacted reported EBITA by US$372 million, on a translational basis.
Adjusted EBITDA3 of US$6,677 million was in line with the prior year.
Weighted average interest rate for the gross debt portfolio of 3.5%, down from 3.9%.
The effective tax rate for the year was 26.0%, in line with the prior year.
Strong free cash flow and balance sheet, with the group's gearing ratio declining by 900 bps to 43.0% and net debt declining by US$3,838 million to US$10,465 million as at 31 March 2015.
During the year, we received the first dividend from our associate, CR Snow, amounting to US$228 million.
Net debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio of 1.6x.
Capex of US$1,572 million, focused on investment in production capacity and capability, most notably in our higher growth markets of Africa and Latin America.
The group completed the sale of its investment in Tsogo Sun in August 2014 and received net proceeds of US$971 million, realising a post-tax profit of US$239 million, which has been treated as exceptional.

Soft drinks continue to be a standout performer, with excellent volume growth across Africa, Latin America and Europe. The company is confident in the future of its soft drinks business which was underlined by the agreement, announced in November 2014, to create Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA)

The company consolidated activities such as procurement and back office services, and integrated its supply chain. SABMiller's global procurement organisation helped to drive savings in direct materials, which, together with lower commodity prices, mitigated adverse transactional currency headwinds."

Operational highlights Latin America

Group NPR growth of 7% reflecting selective lager price increases, growth in our premium and above mainstream lager categories, lager affordability initiatives in Colombia and Honduras, together with strong soft drinks volume growth.
Increased marketing investment behind our brands to support our expansion of the beer category and innovations to tap into new sources of growth.
EBITA growth of 8% with margin improvement of 30 bps reflecting a reduction in production costs, notwithstanding currency pressure on imported raw materials towards the end of the year, together with fixed cost productivity as we continue to simplify and drive efficiencies in the region.

Africa

Group NPR growth of 9% reflecting lager share gains across a number of markets, volume growth, selective pricing and continued premiumisation in lager.
Strong growth in our soft drinks portfolio resulting from price moderation and good retail execution.
EBITA growth of 6% with margin decline of 90 bps driven by raw material input cost pressures reflecting currency depreciation, moderated pricing in conjunction with our focus on affordable products and adverse geographic mix.
The integration of our South Africa beverages business and the rest of Africa into one region is progressing well with benefits in innovation, distribution, sourcing and revenue management.

Asia Pacific

Group NPR growth of 1% with lager pricing and premiumisation offsetting volume decline.
Gained share in Australia in a weaker market, together with improved NPR per hl in the second half of the year.
The integration programme in Australia is now complete and has delivered both savings and capability build ahead of expectations.
In China, our associate CR Snow maintained national leadership, supported by a return to volume growth in the final quarter of our financial year. We received the first dividend from CR Snow, amounting to US$228 million.
EBITA declined by 4% with margin decline of 100 bps, an improvement from the first half of the year due to the return to volume growth in China following exceptionally adverse weather conditions over summer in some of our key regions.
An exceptional impairment charge of US$313 million has been recognised in respect of our Indian business, primarily reflecting increasing regulatory and excise challenges.

Europe

Group NPR growth of 2% against a backdrop of continued economic uncertainty and low inflation.
Innovation has remained a key priority, focused on serving more consumers on more occasions, together with core brand renovations.
EBITA growth of 6% with margin improvement of 50 bps, underpinned by cost savings as we optimise our operating model.
An exceptional charge of US$63 million has been recognised, being the group's share of Anadolu Efes' impairment charge in relation to its beer businesses in Russia and Ukraine.

North America

Group NPR was in line with the prior year with group NPR per hl growth of 3% offsetting lower volumes.
MillerCoors continued to expand its brand portfolio within the growing above premium segment.
EBITA growth of 7% and margin improvement of 110 bps reflecting cost savings in procurement and brewery efficiencies together with fixed cost savings, reflecting the organisational restructuring over the last two years.

You can find the full results here: http://www.flex-news-food.com/CONSOLE/PageViewer.aspx?page=58531

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