Molson Coors recorded a 0.2% increase in its net sales for 2017 to $11 billion, thanks in part to increased volumes in its European business.
The company, which owns brands such as Carling, Staropramen and Blue Moon, saw its full-year net income surge 379% to $1.4 billion.
Last year, Molson Coors chief executive Mark Hunter warned that 2017 would be a transition year following completion of the MillerCoors transaction in 2016.
In the three months to 31 December 2017, the company improved on its third-quarter results, recording a 4.5% net sales rise to $2.58 billion.
In its US business during the fourth quarter, domestic sales to retailers declined 3%, which was said to be driven by lower volumes in its premium light segment. Revenue was up by 1.4% as a result of higher net pricing.
The company’s European business posted strong figures for the fourth quarter, with brand volumes up 10.4% which it said was “primarily driven by the transfer of royalty and export brand volume across Europe from our International business, along with growth from our above-premium brands”. European net sales per hectolitre increased by 16.3%.
In its international unit, brand volume decreased by 15.1%, while net sales per hectolitre were up 6.1% which was driven by “sales mix changes and positive pricing”.
Mark Hunter said: “2017 marked the first full year of the bigger, stronger Molson Coors, and our full-year results demonstrated balance and progress against both our bottom-line and top-line goals. Integration, synergies and costs savings were all delivered on or ahead of plan by engaged employees around the world who are aligned behind our first choice for consumer and customer ambition.
“For the full year 2017 versus pro forma 2016 results, we over delivered on costs savings and free cash flow and optimised commercial spending, delivering strong net income growth, underlying EBITDA margin expansion of 77 basis points, and underlying EBITDA growth of 3.7%. We also strengthened our balance sheet by more than $900 million through debt pay down and pension contributions as part of our deleverage strategy.
“This was complemented by an improving top line, with global brand volume growth of 1% and net sales per hectolitre growth of 2.6%, driven by revenue management and portfolio premiumisation. We also grew market share in Canada and Europe for the year and delivered positive underlying EBITDA in our international business.”
Last year, Molson Coors signed a ten-year agreement with Heineken for the import and distribution of its Sol brand in the US. It also broke ground on a CAD 200 million ($147.31 million) brewery in British Columbia, Canada.
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