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In lieu of its typical natl sales conference, and undoubtedly for lots less expense, AB will host a different kind of meeting for distribs in early 09. It

Publishing Info

  • Year 2008
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 91
Only 2 days before MillerCoors deadline to sign contract, and less than half of distribs have reportedly signed, with lotsa last-minute action.  Calif ABC issued letter late Friday that said it has “significant concerns” with MC agreement, specifically that “several provisions… constitute a degree of ownership and control over the distributor” such that MC “should be a co-licensee or otherwise qualified as the licensee.”  But ABC stopped short of saying agreement in-and-of itself is illegal.  ABC instead said “it may well be concluded that merely entering into the agreement will not in and of itself result in the potential violations,” but rather “it is the actual implementation of these aspects of the agreement (i.e. hiring and firing gm, approving biz plan, process for change in ownership, adding brands, etc) “that could be problematic.”  Any “action” by the ABC “will turn on the particular factual circumstances presented.” To a distrib weighing whether to sign, such finely-calibrated distinctions may not provide much guidance.  MillerCoors has repeatedly said its contract acknowledges state law supercedes, but ABC sez “it is not clear how this provision would work in practice.”  In letter to distribs, Calif assn prexy Victoria Horton sez “we also question how this…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2008
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 95
AB’s US beer revs up 6.6% in 3d qtr, and rev/bbl +3.7% with 2.5% from higher prices, 1.2% from favorable mix shift.  That led to 12.3% increase in US beer pre-tax profits, biggest increase this decade, reported Stifel Nicolaus’ Mark Swartzberg.  Shipments up, as previously announced, 2.3% and STRs +3.6%, pushing yr-to-date gains to 1.1%, 1.3% respectively.  AB sez it gained 0.2 share of US shipments for 9 mos.  But $166.2 mil in combined charges for “professional services related to the InBev transaction” and AB’s retirement program knocked back pre-tax earnings by $43 mil, 4.8% to $829 mil.  Exclude those charges, and $15.3 mil gain from sale of Grolsch rights (and eliminate one-time items from Q3 07), and AB’s “underlying” pre-tax income up 16% in qtr, +9.4% YTD.  AB also took $11 mil equity income hit from Modelo due to its higher costs.  For full yr 08 and 09, AB expects solid 4% rev/bbl increase.  AB costs of goods sold/bbl increased just 3% Q3.  Cost pressures “are being mitigated by cost savings initiatives” and AB expanded US beer gross margins “more than expected” in Q3, cfo Randy Baker said.  Mktg, gen and admin costs rose modest 4% in the qtr. …

Publishing Info

  • Year 2008
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 94
Don't usually like to make much of one week, but early fast start in key week thru May 4 suggests Bud Light Lime could make big splash this summer.  Bud Light Lime grabbed 0.8 share in supers nationally in its intro week, leading up to Cinco de Mayo, according to Morgan Stanley's Bill Pecoriello.  That’s 2x Miller Chill at 0.36 and bigger than Blue Moon at 0.5, Bill points out.  Then too, Bud Light Lime also about 2x what Chill averaged over 4 weeks including Jul 4 last summer.  Chill ultimately climbed to about 1 share at peak. AB gained fully 1.1 share on back of Bud Light Lime, tho Bud Light share off 0.1 in week ending May 4.  Then too, after rebounding in Apr, Corona took it on chin in supers in week.  Down 16%.  Looks like Constellation ceo Robert Sands may have spoke too soon when he said last week he didn’t “think Bud Light Lime really hurt Corona at all.”  Bill also notes that Crown’s “double digit” growth in Apr “includes an extra selling day… and lap was easy.”  Bill sticking with forecast of 2% STR growth for Corona in 08.  A couple of other points…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2008
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 33
SABMiller beat analyst estimates as its revs jumped 15%  to $21.4 bil for fiscal yr thru Mar 08.  EBITA (operating profit before exceptional items and amortization of intangible assets) jumped 15% to $4.1 bil. SABMiller able to keep its margin steady at 17.4% even tho its costs per hectoliter up 6% and its revs per hl up 4%.  Its stock up 4% so far today.  SABMiller said it had confidence that it would continue to be able to offset commodity cost hikes with price increases in coming fiscal yr.  Miller EBITA jumped $102 mil, 27%, including $33 mil from Ball settlement.  Miller at 11% of group EBITA and its improved margin of 9.3% still only about half of total group margin.  That didn’t include $51 mil in special items “in relation to retention agreements” entered into in advance of  JV and “other integration costs.”  In an interview supplied with release, SABMiller ceo Graham Mackay spoke of “strong recovery” at Miller, “strong profit growth based on pricing and cost recovery.” Miller Lite up 1.1% for fiscal yr, High Life up 1.1% and Gen Draft down 10.2% (selling-day adjusted).  More in BMI.  

Publishing Info

  • Year 2008
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 32
Another great look at IRI data in supers from veep Dan Wandel showed total light beer up 1.4% yr-to-date thru Apr 20.  Both AB and Miller losing share of light beer.  AB’s total light portfolio up 0.4%, Miller’s down 0.6%.  Big gainers: Coors’ light brands up 7.3% and import lights up 5.3%.    Drilling down further, Bud Light remains healthy.  Up 1.7% YTD, growing slightly faster than all light beers.  But Miller Lite down 1.2% (more in most recent periods).  And Coors Light up 5.8%.  So trends of big 3 light beers diverge pretty sharply at this point.  Those 3 brands are 61% of light beer volume in supers so far in 08.  Coors   results further bolstered by strong performance of #7 light brand, Keystone Light, up 13.7% yr-to-date.  AB also getting solid growth from #5 Busch Light, up 4.7% and #6 Mich Ultra up 2.2%. But #4 Natty Light down 1% in supers (up in c-stores) and #9 Bud Select still down 17%.  Miller’s 2d biggest light brand is fading Mil Best Light (#8), down 7.2%.  Rounding out top 10, Corona Light up 2% yr-to-date.  

Publishing Info

  • Year 2008
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 28