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Thu 13th Nov 2014 - Miller Brands UK reports surging demand for authentic world beers
Miller Brands UK reports surging demand for authentic world beers: Miller Brands UK (MBUK) has reported growing demand for authentic world beers with 11% Net Producer Revenue (NPR) growth in the UK in the six months ending September 2014. MBUK’s volumes grew by 5% across the UK as a result of ‘increased rate of sale, impactful marketing initiatives and good weather over the summer period’. Peroni Nastro Azzurro maintained its position as the number one premium lager brand by value in the on-trade, with a value share of 33% within the world beer category. New innovations such as Piccola, a new 25cl bottle launched in June 2014 - aimed at pre-dinner drinks - continue to drive desire for world beer, across a variety of drinking occasions. Czech brand Pilsner Urquell strengthened its position with volume growth of 19% through continued impact of Wooden Barrel sampling and success at Taste of London where it sold 10,500 pints across the food festival. Tankovna Beer continued expansion in London with its third launch since 2013 at Draft House, Seething Lane. Pilsner Urquell is currently the only international beer offered to the Irish market in an unpasteurised form, following the first ever Tank launch at The Bridge 1859, Dublin this October. Czech brand Kozel experienced a strong first half with 27% volume increase, particularly amongst young urban professionals. Belgian Abbey beer St Stefanus, which is brewed and imported from Ghent, will now be available nationally though Matthew Clark. Gary Haigh, managing director of Miller Brands UK, said: “Today’s performance is testament to the choices UK beer drinkers are making for genuine and authentic tasting beer. The industry has long suffered declining volumes and it’s great to be supporting the recovery of this with brands such as Peroni Nastro Azzuro, Pilsner Urquell and Kozel. These brands carry heritage whilst continuing to innovate therefore driving the category forward and exciting new consumers to world beer.” Of parent company SAB Miller’s performance in the half-year, chief executive Alan Clark said: “We continued to grow earnings in the first half with challenging trading conditions mitigated by ongoing efficiencies. Group net producer revenue was driven by lager growth in Africa and Latin America and strong performance in our soft drinks businesses in Africa, Latin America and Europe. Lower lager sales in parts of Europe and Asia Pacific resulted in a small group Ebita margin decline during the half year. We are well-placed to capture future top line growth opportunities in both emerging and developed markets and are making good initial progress on our plan to realise US$500 million from operational efficiencies and cost savings.”

BSkyB becomes Sky as it creates ‘Europe’s leading entertainment company’: Sky has laid claim to be ‘Europe’s leading entertainment company’ after completing the acquisition of Sky Italia and a majority interest in Sky Deutschland. The company stated: “The enlarged group will serve 20 million customers across five countries: Italy, Germany, Austria, the UK and Ireland. It will also be one of the largest employers in the sector with 31,000 staff across 30 main sites. With a combined programme spend of £4.6 billion, Sky is Europe’s leading investor in television content and at the forefront of delivering services over broadcast, online and mobile platforms so that customers can enjoy great TV whenever and wherever they choose. By bringing together the three businesses, Sky will share strengths and expertise from across the group to serve customers better, accelerate innovation and grow faster. The new Sky will be built on a shared ethos of always pushing forward to provide customers with more choice, better content and a superior TV experience. The potential for future growth is significant. Over 60 million households have yet to take pay TV across the five markets in which Sky operates and there is also substantial opportunity to launch new services and bring additional products to more customers. In order to recognise the international scope of the business, following the acquisition the company will change its name to Sky, in place of British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB). The company will be listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol SKY. As Group Chief Executive, Jeremy Darroch will oversee the enlarged group as well as continuing to lead the UK and Ireland business while Andrew Griffith will be group chief financial officer.” Andrea Zappia will continue to lead the business in Italy as chief executive of Sky Italia and Brian Sullivan remains chief executive of Sky Deutschland AG. Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s Group chief executive, said: “The three Sky businesses will be even better together. We have the opportunity to create a business that can lead and shape our industry in the future. Customers will benefit as we launch exciting new services, bring them even more great TV and accelerate innovation across all of the markets in which we operate. By joining together, we will share our strengths and expertise while retaining a strong identity in each country where we operate. The opportunity ahead is substantial and we believe the new Sky will be good for customers, content creators and shareholders alike.”

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