SABMiller says it has achieved 'good' annual results, despite the uncertainty caused by its impending takeover from AB InBev.
Reporting UK beverage volume growth of 3% and net producer revenue (NPR) increases of 5% in the year to 31 March 2016, Alan Clark, chief executive said: 'These are good results. This performance reflects our focus on driving superior growth strengthening our core brands, expanding the beer category to reach more consumers on more occasions and placing an emphasis on premiumisation in all regions.
'Achieving these results this year, notwithstanding economic and currency volatility and the distraction of the AB InBev offer is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our people.'
The company said growth in the UK was led by the continued success of Peroni Nastro Azzurro which offset the planned volume decline in both Miller Genuine Draft and the Polish brand portfolio. London craft brewer Meantime Brewing Company, acquired in June, delivered double digit volume growth.
However many of Miller’s top performing brands are set to leave the portfolio. AB InBev announced on 19 April that it has accepted Japanese brewer Asahi’s offer to buy Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime, pending completion of the SABMiller deal.
Gary Haigh, managing director of Miller Brands UK, the UK subsidiary of SABMiller, said he was proud of the growth the company has achieved with the Peroni brand, crediting it with driving growth of this super-premium beer segment, which now accounts for £1 in every £4 spent on beer in London.
'Over the last 10 years, we have been changing the way people think about beer,' he said. 'As we progress from world beer into a new era of high growth super-premium beer, we are immensely proud that Peroni Nastro Azzurro continues to spearhead this change.
He continued: 'The growth of Pilsner Urquell Tank Beer has been outstanding too, with acclaimed restaurateurs and premium pub owners wanting to centre new openings on its authentic, unpasteurised and fresh appeal. Since the launch of the inaugural Tank Beer in 2013, we’ve seen over half a million pints of Tank Beer sold.
'We have already seen the growth of super-premium spirits and now beer is heading in the same direction as consumers seek genuine, authentic taste and a story behind their beer.'
A decision on the AB InBev deal is expected from the European Commission on 24 May. AB InBev says it is keen to complete the deal by the second half of 2016.