SAB going strong without Amstel

South African Breweries (SAB) premium volumes are not as bad as expected after its contract with Dutch brewer Heineken to produce, market, sell and distribute Amstel lager in South Africa was terminated in March.

South African Breweries (SAB) premium volumes are not as bad as expected after its contract with Dutch brewer Heineken to produce, market, sell and distribute Amstel lager in South Africa was terminated in March.

SAB said yesterday it had adjusted downwards the estimated impact of its loss of the Amstel brand.

The company said that given the absence of the Amstel brand from the market during the past six months and the success of its Hansa Marzen Gold brand, the estimated impact on earnings before the deduction of interest, tax and amortisation expenses (EBITA) for the current year had been adjusted downwards from $80million (R536million) to between $40 million (R268million) and $50 million (R335million).

"It is (expected) that EBITA and margin will be impacted to a greater extent in the second half," the company said. The brand has recently returned to the market in bottle form.

The drop in premium volumes due to the loss of Amstel, which previously constituted 9percent of SAB's volumes and 12percent of revenue, was softened by particularly good growth in Castle Lite (up 74percent) and the successful launch of a new premium offering, Hansa Marzen Gold, in May. -I-Net Bridge

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