US/CANADA: Molson Coors' Q1 sales dip, but profits get one-off boost

First quarter net profits jump 115.2% to US$102.2m
Net sales slip 1.5% to $816m
Operating profits up 20.4% to $251.2m
Group Q1 beer volumes flat

Molson Coors has seen its first-quarter sales slip, but profits were boosted by a one-off sum from the cancellation of its Canadian joint-venture with Grupo Modelo.

The US and Canada-based brewer said reported on May 7 that, in the three months to the end of March, underlying net profits jumped by 115.2% to US$102.2m. Sales in the period slid by 1.5% on the prior year to $816m. Underlying EBITDA rose by 20.4% to 251.2m in the quarter.

Group volumes in the three months were flat at 11.9m hectolitres.

The company said it saw a net pre-tax benefit of $52.5m in the quarter, driven by $63.2m received from Anheuser-Busch InBev-owned Grupo Modelo for “the early termination of the Modelo, Molson joint venture in Canada”.

In the US, the group’s JV with SABMiller, MillerCoors, saw Q1 net profits rise by 7.4% to $291.9m, due to “positive pricing and sales mix, cost savings, and lower marketing spending”. However, sales to retailers fell by 3.4%.

In Canada, Molson Coors' sales to retailers slipped by 5.7%. However, pre-tax income was up 20.5% to $35.3m.

In Europe, pre-tax profits came back into the black at $27m, after a loss of 5.2m in last year’s first quarter. Volumes rose 5.6% helped by “favourable” weather, the company said.

Shares in the company were trading up 3.88% at US$62.09 in New York on May 7.