SABMiller plc Up 5% As It Delivers Growth

sab.millerSABMiller (LSE: SAB) is currently up almost 5% following publication of its preliminary final results to 31 March 2014. Although group revenue fell 1%, to £34,084m, adjusted pre-tax profit (which excludes exceptional charges of US$202 million relating to such things as disposal of businesses and restructuring costs) rose 2%, to £5,712m.

 The company said that a 1% growth in lager volumes (both reported and organic) in Latin America, Africa and Asia Pacific helped to at least partially offset declines in both North America and Europe.

Adjusted earnings for the full year rose 2%, as did adjusted earnings per share, which rose to 242 cents. However, the company notes that the depreciation of currencies in its key markets versus the US dollar had “a significant negative impact on the translation of financial results“, notably the reduction of reported EBITA by approximately US$400 million.

The board has recommended a final dividend of 80 cents per share, which will bring the payout for the full year to 105 cents per share, up 4% over the previous year.

The results also included the conclusion of the company’s ‘business capability programme’, which it says has achieved cumulative net operating benefits of $496m a year, and the announcement of a new programme, aimed at “driving additional operational efficiencies“, which the company expects to deliver savings of around $500 million a year by 2018. The programme will involve restructuring costs of $350m, of which $59m has already been incurred.  

Looking ahead, SABMiller expects trading conditions to remain “broadly unchanged”, with growth coming from its developing markets, but warned that adverse currency movements will continue to affect its business.

Commenting on the results, chief executive Alan Clark said:

We have produced a resilient performance in the face of a number of headwinds, with organic, constant currency EBITA growth of 7% and strong margin improvement. Group net producer revenue growth of 3% was led by our developing market businesses in Africa and Latin America, together with our associate in China, where we continued to build capacity, make selective price increases and grow our premium brand portfolios. …”

“As we look ahead, we will continue to innovate and rejuvenate our products, build on our position in growth markets, and increase the efficiency of our operations. With this approach I believe we are well placed to continue to deliver strong returns to shareholders.

Despite this morning’s rise, at 3,409p, SABMiller’s share price is down 4.3% on this time last year, compared with an essentially flat FTSE 100. But over five years, the multinational brewing giant has left the index trailing in its wake, with a gain of 173%, versus a rise of 57% in the FTSE 100.

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Jon doesn't own shares in SABMiller.