Maker of Miller Beers Sees Sales Uptick

Brewer SABMiller PLC said Wednesday it sold 5 percent more beer, excluding its new South American business, in its latest financial year amid strong demand from Europe and Asia.

The brewer of Miller Lite, Castle and Peroni said that lager volumes grew 5 percent in Europe, with strong performances from Poland, Russia and Romania. The Africa and Asia business reported a 14 percent rise in volumes, with particularly robust growth in China.

The trading update excluded volumes for its South American operations, following SABMiller's $7.8 billion takeover of Colombian brewer Bavaria in November.

Finance director Malcolm Wyman said volumes including the Bavaria contribution would be nearer 6 percent. The company said it was seeing continuing growth in Colombia and robust growth in Peru.

Shares in the South African-based company rose 1.5 percent to 1,126 pence ($19.76) on the London Stock Exchange.

In the United States, SABMiller said its flagship Miller Lite brand "continued to grow, despite cycling higher year-on-year comparables and aggressive pricing by the main competitor brand."

SABMiller's U.S. operations have suffered due to an Anheuser-Busch Cos.-led (BUD) price war after the rival brewer of Budweiser beers lost market share to SABMiller.

SABMiller maintains a presence in more than 60 countries with brands such as Pilsener Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzuro, the Miller range, and Amstel Lager.