The Year-to-date for MillerCoors

February 15/Johannesburg, South Africa/Food & Beverage Close-Up -- SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing Company reported that MillerCoors' underlying net income increased at double-digit rates in the fourth quarter and full year ended Dec. 31, 2010, despite one of the most challenging years on record for the U.S. beer industry.

In a release dated February 10, the company said MillerCoors fourth quarter underlying net income, excluding special items, increased 38.0% to $146 million compared with the prior-year period, while full-year underlying net income increased 21.9% to $1.087 billion behind positive pricing, favorable brand mix, and continued strong cost management. While industry volumes remained soft in the quarter, MillerCoors' Premium Light portfolio saw continued trend improvements.

"We continue to invest in innovation behind our premium light brands, drive growth in our craft and import portfolio and deliver synergy and cost savings as promised," said Leo Kiely, chief executive officer, MillerCoors. "Our consistent focus generated positive net revenue per barrel growth for the fourth quarter. We are building brand equity and improving our mix to meet the challenges ahead in 2011."

Key operating results for the fourth quarter are compared to the prior year comparable quarter and include MillerCoors operations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Fourth Quarter and Full Year Highlights
(Unless otherwise indicated, all amounts are in U.S. dollars and calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP, and all percentages are versus the prior-year comparable period.)

-Fourth quarter underlying net income, excluding special items, increased 38.0% to $146 million, while full-year underlying net income, excluding special items, grew 21.9% to $1.087 billion

-Fourth quarter total net sales increased 0.4% to $1.720 billion, while full-year total net sales were unchanged;

-Revenue per barrel growth was positive in the fourth quarter, as domestic net revenue per barrel (NRPB), excluding contract brewing and company-owned distributor sales, increased 1.7%, driven by pricing growth and favorable mix. For the full year, domestic NRPB increased 2.3%.

-Fourth quarter total cost of goods sold per barrel increased 1.8%, while domestic COGS per barrel were flat. Full-year total COGS per barrel increased 2.1%.

-MillerCoors surpassed its three-year synergies goal six months ahead of schedule delivering $60 million of synergy savings in the fourth quarter, for a total of $505 million in cumulative synergy savings realized since July 1, 2008. Additional cost savings of $31 million were achieved in the fourth quarter, bringing total synergy and cost savings to $655 million since July 1, 2008.

For the quarter, MillerCoors domestic sales-to-retailers declined 2.5%t, about half the decline in the third quarter due to trend improvements in premium light sales. For the full year, STRs were down 3.2%.

Domestic sales-to-wholesalers declined 2.2% in the quarter, driven by STR declines. Full-year STWs were down 3.0%.

Fourth Quarter Brand STR Highlights
Premium Light STRs were down slightly in the fourth quarter, as Coors Light was up low-single digits due to strong distribution gains in the quarter; and Miller Lite trends continued to stabilize since the launch of the Miller Lite Vortex bottle and expanded distribution of the Miller Lite Aluminum Pint. MGD 64 declined at a double-digit rate.

MillerCoors Craft and Import portfolio managed by Tenth and Blake Beer Company grew double digits in the quarter, driven by the strong performance of Blue Moon, the biggest-selling craft beer brand in the country. The smaller Domestic Above-Premium portfolio continued to experience double-digit declines.

The Below Premium portfolio was down mid-single digits due to declines in Miller High Life and Milwaukee's Best. Keystone Light was down low-single digits.

Fourth Quarter Financial Highlights
MillerCoors total net sales increased 0.4% to $1.720 billion versus fourth quarter 2009. Full-year total net sales were $7.571 billion, virtually unchanged from prior year. Third party contract brewing volumes were down 3.7% for the quarter. Full-year contract brewing was down 0.7%.

Fourth quarter COGS per barrel increased 1.8% versus the prior year. The increase was primarily due to Coors Distributing Company's acquisition of Western Beverage in Denver. Domestic COGS per barrel were flat for the quarter despite higher fuel costs and unfavorable mix, which were offset by synergy and cost saving programs. Full-year COGS per barrel increased 2.1%.

Marketing, general and administrative costs decreased 5.4% to $472.5 million in the fourth quarter, primarily due to synergy savings and lower promotional and tactical spending.

Depreciation and amortization expenses for MillerCoors in the fourth quarter were $70.6 million and additions to tangible and intangible assets totaled $124.0 million.

During the fourth quarter, special items were $2.2 million primarily related to integration charges.

Integration, Synergies and Cost Savings
In the fourth quarter, synergy savings of $60 million were realized, driven by non-organizational synergies of $58 million. The non-organizational savings were primarily realized from media, regional tactical spending, inbound and outbound freight, packaging and brewing materials and point-of-sale materials.

To date, MillerCoors cumulative synergies have grown to $505 million, surpassing the original commitment to deliver $500 million by June 30.

In addition to synergies, an additional $31 million of cost savings were realized in the quarter driven by various cost savings initiatives led by the integrated supply chain, marketing and sales divisions. Cumulative cost savings to date total $150 million.

In total, MillerCoors has delivered $655 million in cumulative synergies and cost savings since July 1, 2008, and is on track to deliver $750 million of total synergies and cost savings by the end of 2012.

From the February 16, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News
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