Mol­son Coors says new Cana­dian beers pro­vided cush­ion from down­turn

Cape Breton Post - - BUSINESS -

MONTREAL (CP) — The in­tro­duc­tion of three new Cana­dian beer brands has helped Mol­son Coors Brew­ing Com­pany to re­duce the eco­nomic down­turn’s im­pact on sales vol­umes, the com­pany’s chief ex­ec­u­tive said Tues­day.

In­creased spending on Mol­son M, Mol­son Cana­dian 67 and Rickard’s Dark con­trib­uted to a 12per-cent drop in pre­tax Cana­dian earn­ings. In­clud­ing a 15 per cent ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the Cana­dian dol­lar, earn­ings fell 5.3 per cent to US$94.5 mil­lion.

“Our brand work is beginning to give us the port­fo­lio we re­quire to im­prove (mar­ket) share and rev­enue per­for­mance in Canada go­ing for­ward,” CEO Peter Swin­burn said Tues­day dur­ing a con­fer­ence call.

The Montreal and Den­ver­based brewer’s over­all fourth-quar­ter profit more than dou­bled be­cause of favourable tax ben­e­fits even as it sold fewer beers.

World­wide vol­ume sold of the com­pany’s beers, in­clud­ing Blue Moon and Coors Light, fell four per cent as peo­ple cut back on their pur­chases. Still, higher prices helped drive an 11 per cent rise in net sales to $820.8 mil­lion.

Shares listed on the New York Stock Ex­change (NYSE:TAP) de­creased $1.32 to $39.99 in af­ter­noon trad­ing. Mol­son Coors Canada shares listed on the Toronto Stock Ex­change (TSX:TPX.B) fell C$1.23, or 2.74 per cent, to $43.62.

Mol­son Coors has seen sales slip in its strongholds of Canada and Bri­tain amid weak economies.

Peo­ple are feel­ing pinched so they’re less likely to splurge on items like beer or go out to bars and restau­rants. That’s forc­ing com­pa­nies to drop their prices to com­pete, but Mol­son Coors has held firm on some pric­ing, par­tic­u­larly in Bri­tain, so it can make more money on the prod­ucts it does sell.

The brewer earned $218.2 mil­lion, or $1.17 per share in the quar­ter end­ing Dec. 26. That’s up from $87.6 mil­lion, or 48 cents per share, in last year’s fourth quar­ter.

Without one-time items, the com­pany earned $190.3 mil­lion, or $1.02 a share.

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