SABMiller Profit Hit By $160M in Merger Costs

The beer giant reports an 18% drop in full-year profit ahead of its $108 billion merger with rival Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Matthew HellerMay 18, 2016

Beer giant SABMiller on Wednesday reported that fiscal-year net profit fell 18%, reflecting in part costs related to its pending takeover by bigger rival Anheuser-Busch InBev.

SAB said the $108 billion merger had already cost it $160 million in banking, legal and other advisory fees, as well as incentives to retain key members of staff. When completed, the deal will create the world’s biggest beer group with about 30% of the global beer market.

Profit for the year ended March 31 fell to $4.1 billion on net producer revenues (NPR), which includes joint ventures but not taxes, that declined 8% to $24.1billion. Beverage volumes, though, rose 2%, with beer volumes up 1% and soft-drinks volumes up 6%.

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“This performance reflects our focus on driving superior growth, strengthening our core brands, expanding the beer category to reach more consumers on more occasions and placing an emphasis on premiumization in all regions,” Alan Clark, SAB’s chief executive, said in a news release.

He added that “the strengthening dollar against many of our operating currencies had a material negative impact on reported results.” Excluding foreign exchange effects, NPR rose 5% and earnings before interest, taxes and amortization increased 8% to $5.8 billion.

The merger-related costs includes a series of series of cash payments equivalent to 100% of salaries to important SAB employees. “There had been concerns that SAB would be hit by a staff exodus before AB InBev which has a reputation for ruthless cost-cutting completes the deal, but [Clark] said employee turnover ‘is actually very low,’” The Telegraph reported.

SABMiller also recorded $721 million in one-time charges principally relating to the impairment of its investments in Angola and strife-torn South Sudan.

“We continue to focus on improving our in-country performance in a cost-efficient manner, supported by our global cost and efficiency program which is ahead of schedule and delivered cumulative net annualized savings of $547 million by the year end,” Clark said.