LONDON, Oct 18 (Reuters) - SABMiller, the world's second-biggest brewer, posted an expected 4 percent rise in underlying first half beer volumes after growth across most other regions offset slowing demand in its key Latin American market.
Beer volumes in Latin America, which represents around 32 percent of profit, grew by 4 percent, down from 8 percent in the same period a year ago with the firm reporting weaker consumer sentiment in recent months.
The Miller Lite, Grolsch and Peroni maker, which earns 70 percent of its profit from fast-growing emerging markets, also reported on Thursday an 8 percent rise in organic, constant currency group revenue in the six months to September.
Including acquisitions and disposals, total volumes were up 9 percent.
The 4 percent underlying quarterly rise in beer volumes, after stripping out the effects of acquisitions, matched an analyst consensus forecast of 4 percent and follows a 5 percent volume rise in its first quarter.
The brewer, which also makes Castle, Snow, Pilsner Urquell and Aguila beers, said that quarterly underlying volumes rose 6 percent in Africa, 5 percent in Asia-Pacific, and 1 percent in South Africa.
The United States, where it operates through its MillerCoors venture, remained weak, with sales to retailers falling 1.9 percent and sales to wholesalers down 1.2 percent.
In Europe, lager volumes rose by 9 percent helped by selective price reductions, with the Euro 2012 soccer tournament boosting Polish beer sales, and demand for its Peroni brand pushing up domestic volumes by 5 percent in the UK.
The London-based brewer, which has expanded rapidly over the past two decades from its South African roots, added that its recently-acquired Foster's Australian business suffered a 13 percent dip in volume. The decline was partly because of the termination of some licensed brands after SABMiller's purchase of Foster's in December 2011.
Soft drinks volumes were 6 percent higher year-on-year on an organic basis.
Shares in the firm were down 1.15 percent in early trading.