SABMiller Earnings Rise, Sees Tougher Second Half

Brewer SABMiller met forecasts with a 22 percent rise in first-half earnings on Thursday, but said it expected trading conditions to get tougher amid rising costs for energy, grain, glass and aluminum.

The world's second-largest brewer and maker of Miller Lite, Castle and Peroni beers posted adjusted earnings per share of 69.1 U.S. cents for its half year to Sept. 30, on a 15 percent rise in revenue to $10.78 billion.

Forecasts ranged from 66.4 cents to 72.2 cents for earnings and from $10.4 billion to $11 billion for revenue, according to a Reuters poll of eight analysts.

"We have delivered another excellent performance in Europe, a pleasing return to growth in North America, and our Asian businesses have continued their momentum and made market share gains," Chief Executive Graham Mackay said in a statement.

"We are continuing to invest in our businesses to drive revenues, which, together with ongoing productivity gains, are offsetting industry wide cost pressures.

"We expect to make progress in the balance of the year but face a more challenging environment."

SABMiller said it would pay an interim dividend of 16 cents a share, up 14 percent on the same period last year.

Its shares, which have lagged the DJ Stoxx European food and beverage index by 2 percent this year, closed at 1,375 pence on Wednesday to value the business at about 21 billion pounds ($44 billion).