We're Drinking More Beer Lately, Just Barely

In times of a recession, it’s time to cut back on the micro and craft brews and just down the cheapest swill available. This ought to help Molson Coors:

WSJ: Molson Coors, which in September merged its American operations with those of SABMiller PLC to form MillerCoors, posted net income of $173.2 million, or 94 cents a share, up from $134.7 million, or 74 cents a share, in last year’s third quarter. Excluding items, earnings per share were flat at 95 cents.

Net sales fell 45% to $921.1 million, as U.S. sales were moved to the joint venture.

Gross margin rose to 43.1% from 41.4%, as price increases helped blunt rising input costs.

Molson Coors’s total volume increased 0.2% on a pro forma basis, with a 3.7% increase in sales to retail outlets in Canada offsetting a 3.1% drop in the U.K. Profit in Canada, where Molson has its largest presence in terms of market share, fell 8.1% due to high commodity costs and price discounting in the Quebec market.

As for rival Carlsberg, they’re doing pretty well too:

Separately, Danish brewer Carlsberg A/S on Wednesday posted a 3.7% rise in third-quarter net profit, boosted by the recent acquisition of parts of U.K. rival Scottish & Newcastle. However, the company cut its full-year forecast and said it will close its brewery in Leeds, England, as a result of the economic downturn.

In the three months ended Sept. 30, net profit rose to 1.22 billion Danish kroner ($213.1 million) from 1.18 billion kroner a year earlier. Revenue increased 48% to 18.44 billion kroner. Sales were lifted by the Scottish & Newcastle purchase, but earnings growth was curbed by higher interest payments on the debt taken on to fund the deal.

Carlsberg said it now expects full-year net organic revenue growth, which excludes acquisitions and disposals, to come in at 7%, down from earlier expectations for 10% growth. It also cut its forecast for organic operating-profit growth to 8% from 12%, blaming the economic downturn for stifling demand, particularly in the U.K. and the Baltic states. Carlsberg has expanded into the fast-expanding Russian and Baltic markets in recent years, but it now expects growth there to moderate.

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