Winnipeg Free Press: Beer Maker Molson Coors Wants to Increase Sales of Core Brands in 2012

From the Winnipeg Free Press:

Beer maker Molson Coors wants to increase sales of core brands like Coors Light and Molson Canadian to drive revenue growth during what it expects will be another challenging year.

"We expect 2012 to be as challenging as 2011 in all of our markets," chief executive Peter Swinburn said Thursday, after Molson Coors reported a hefty quarterly profit of US$173.2 million.

"We firmly believe that we have to continue to focus on our core brands and new innovation to drive top-line revenue. That means growing Coors Light, Carling, Molson Canadian and Miller Lite," he told a conference call.

Swinburn said Molson Coors (NYSE:TAP) anticipates negative foreign exchange rates and increased pension expenses this year.

"Despite some challenging market conditions, our focus continues to be on growing our business."

The Canadian-U.S. brewer said its fourth-quarter profits rose 58 per cent to US$173.2 million, handily beating analysts expectations as net sales rose 12.2 per cent to $937.3 million and volume was up 2.6 per cent.

Earnings amounted to 95 cents per share, up from a year-earlier 58 cents per share or $109.8 million for Molson Coors, headquartered in Denver and Montreal.

Stripping out one-time items, Molson Coors reported earnings of 97 cents per share, well above an analyst consensus call for profits of 71 cents per share, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

"The fourth quarter for Molson Coors was a positive finish to a challenging year," Swinburn told analysts during the call.

He said the quarter also benefited from solid pricing and an additional week in its fiscal 2011 calendar.

Swinburn also said during 2012, Molson Coors will continue to increase growth in the key strategic markets of China, India, Russia, United Kingdom and Spain, focusing on the Coors Light, Carling and Cobra brands.


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