SABMiller raises a glass to UK sales

The South African brewer SAB Miller's UK operation toasted soaring sales for two of its best-known premium lagers, as the group delivered profits ahead of City expectations.

Its UK business, Miller Brands, said Peroni Nastro Azzurro grew volumes by 35 per cent and Pilsner Urquell was up by 26 per cent in the six months to 30 September, boosted by extensive marketing campaigns. In a group statement, SAB Miller said: "We gained market share in Poland, Romania and the UK, with strong momentum behind key brands."

The brewer – which has 200 brands globally, largely in emerging markets, including China and Africa – said its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation were down by 2 per cent to $2.19bn (£1.32bn), but ahead of analyst expectations of $2.13bn over the half year. SAB Miller plans to cut costs by $300m by 2014. Its pre-tax profits fell to $1.5bn, after exceptional charges of $239m.