Lager production up

Delta Beverages lager volumes grew by 30% in the half-year to September 2011, powered by huge capital investment in capacity upgrades.

Growth in sales of Castle lager was registered in the DRC and Cameroon.
Growth in sales of Castle lager was registered in the DRC and Cameroon.

Local volumes grew on the back of a $133 million capital investment in new lager and soft drink plants. A $67 million capital injection in 2012 will take total expenditure over the last three years to $200 million.

The growth in Delta's lager volumes spurred overall volume growth for global brewer and part shareholder SABmiller, which holds 36,9% equity in Delta. SABmiller's 2011 large volumes exceeded the 2010 volumes by 3%.

The global liquor brewer said Castle delivered 11% lager volume growth with good performance noted in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon. Soft drinks volumes also did extremely well after growing by 10% with robust performances in Ghana and Zimbabwe. Volumes grew by 54% in Ghana.

"Beer consumption continued to vary across global markets, with further healthy growth in Latin America and Africa and underlying economic weakness persisting in North America and European (markets),” said a SABmiller representative.

Growth slowed in the second quarter, in part reflecting stronger prior year comparatives, and some particularly poor weather in Europe and China in the current period.

Raw material costs rose moderately and investment in the group's brands and market facing capabilities was increased, which together with higher central costs constrained margins. Overall, financial performance for the half year was in line with expectations.

Delta, the brewer of Castle, Black Label and Lion lagers, has indicated that it will bring forward the commissioning of a new beer packaging line for Southerton to July/August 2012 instead of July/ August 2013.

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