MillerCoors Q3 income dips due to weak economy

Wed Nov 2, 2011 7:55am EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - MillerCoors, the second-largest brewer in the United States, said its third-quarter net income fell 14.1 percent on Wednesday due to a weak economy, low consumer spending and higher commodity costs.

The combined U.S. operations of SABMiller Plc SAB.L SABJ.J and Molson Coors Brewing Co (TAP.N: Quote) which make Miller Lite and Coors Light beers said underlying net income in its July-September quarter slipped to $286.9 million, while net sales were 2.5 percent down at $1.965 billion.

"Despite the toughest headwinds we've seen as a company, we slightly improved our sales to retailer trend this quarter versus last quarter and continued to deliver our cost savings commitments," said MillerCoors CEO Tom Long who took over from Leo Kiely after he retired on June 1.

The company, formed in July 2008, said cumulative cost savings had reached $738 million and it now expects to meet its $750 million cost savings target from the merger by the end of 2011, one year ahead of originally planned.

The brewer has a U.S. beer market share of nearly 30 percent behind Budweiser-brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev's (ABI.BR: Quote) share of almost 50 percent. Molson Coors, with its main operations in the U.S., Canada and Britain, is due to report later on Wednesday.

Last month, SABMiller reported a 3 percent rise in its underlying group beer volumes for its April-September half-year led by the emerging markets of Africa, Asia and Latin America while in U.S. sales to retailers at MillerCoors fell 2.3 percent.

SABMiller shares were 0.6 percent lower at 2,208 pence in London by 1145 GMT.

SABMiller, the world's No 2 brewer behind AB InBev, has agreed a cash takeover for Australian brewer Foster's Group FGL.AX for $10.2 billion, and it also plans to swap its Russian and Ukrainian beer business for a 24 percent stake in Turkey's Anadolu Efes (AEFES.IS: Quote), with both deals expected to be completed by the end of 2011.

(Reporting by David Jones)