Chief executive Mark Hunter struck an upbeat tone following the release of Molson Coors’ full-year results, despite the brewer recording weaker sales and profit.
Net sales for 2018 were $10.77 billion – down 2.1% compared to the year before – while underlying EBITDA fell by 1.7% from $2.5 billion to $2.45 billion.
For the final quarter of last year, sales were 6.2% weaker at $2.42 billion but underlying EBITDA grew 1.4% to $487.7 million.
The weaker results – relative to 2017 – were motivated in part by a 1.9% reduction in global volumes.
Molson Coors chief executive officer Mark Hunter said: “We accomplished much in 2018, delivering strong free cash flow and meeting our deleverage commitments, restoring underlying EBITDA growth in the quarter and second half, premiumising our portfolio across regions including launching Truss, our Canadian cannabis beverage JV, scaling volume and profitability in our fast growing International business and continuing to strengthen our European business.
Molson Coors is the world’s fourth largest beer maker by revenue.
“Through the year we further scaled our cost saving programme, which insulated us in part from the effects of weaker industry demand in North America, higher than anticipated input inflationary pressures and challenges associated with the implementation of our US brewery supply chain system.
“We enter 2019 with a US commercial plan focused on mix and share improvement that is fully resourced and showing early signs of impact against Coors Light, a commercial strategy that is working in Europe and International, and continually improving commercial trends in Canada. We are focused on further strong free cash flow delivery and deleverage supported by more than $200 million of cost savings in 2019 and further $450 million across 2020-2022.”
Molson Coors’ volumes in Canada declined by the company has made some efforts to improve its outlook in recent months: in January, it launched a fresh new masterbrand for its Molson beer in the country, featuring new packaging and branding.
And in October, Molson Coors broke ground on a new site in Longueuil, Quebec, which it says will be its most modern brewing facility and distribution centre to date.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019