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Premium lagers give fizz to SAB

Premium lagers such as Peroni have outperformed a declining UK market as drinkers splashed out on "affordable luxuries", SABMiller said yesterday.

The drinks giant said Peroni Nastro saw volumes up 29 per cent in the year to 31 March, with the Czech beer Pilsner Urquell also up 22 per cent in a wider premium market which fell 2 per cent. Its UK managing director, Nick Miller, said: "Throughout the recession, we've seen consumers still want to treat themselves to affordable luxuries."

The group unveiled a 12 per cent rise in underlying pre-tax profits to $3.8bn (£2.6bn) for the year, but its shares fell 6 per cent to 1,912p as it warned that a broad consumer recovery was still months away. It expects a boost from the World Cup, but has chosen not to associate its premium brands with the tournament. "We are very specific about the consumers that we are trying to attract," Mr Miller said.