Market Headwinds Blow SABMiller plc 2% Lower

The share price of SABMiller (LON: SAB) (NASDAQOTH: SBMRY.US) is currently down close to 2%, following publication this morning of a trading update for the 12 months to 31 March 2014.sab.miller

Group net producer revenue (NPR) — ie, group revenue less excise and similar taxes — grew by 3% for the full year, and group NPR per hectolitre (hl) grew by 2% (both on an organic, constant currency basis). 

Total beverage volumes increased by 2% for the full year (on an organic basis), with lager volumes up 1% and soft drinks volumes up 5%. 

The company said that whilst depreciation of currencies in its key markets against the US dollar will adversely impact reported results, the group’s financial performance is in line with expectations.

Reporting on its geographical territories, SABMiller said that Latin America experienced solid revenue growth despite difficult trading conditions, Europe saw an “improvement in trend” although market conditions remain “challenging”, and innovations in North America — notably the success of the Redd’s flavoured malt beverage franchise — drove growth in the “above premium” net producer revenue

There was “moderate growth” in Africa due to what was described as a “more challenging fourth quarter” and group NPR in Asia Pacific was driven up 4% by robust growth in China, although there was continued “negative consumer sentiment” and competitor pressure in Australia. Finally, its South Africa Beverages business saw 6% growth in NPR, driven by price increases and a positive lager brand mix.

Commenting on the update, Chief Executive Alan Clark said:

We continued to deliver top line growth for the year, despite a number of headwinds and a challenging fourth quarter. The combination of our global overview and deep local insights enables us to fine tune our operations in each market and to deliver commercial progress, which underpins our confidence in our ability to deliver higher revenue growth in the longer term.

SABMiller’s share price is currently almost 10% down on this time last year, compared with a 3.6% rise in the FTSE 100 over the same period.

If SABMiller doesn't appeal, you need to know that one of its main competitors, Diageo, is one of the five shares featured in the Fool's exclusive "Five Shares To Retire On" report.

To find out which four other top-quality companies the Fool's analysts believe will reward you over the long term, get hold of your free copy now.

Jon doesn't own shares in SAB Miller or any other company mentioned.