Australia: Coopers Brewery seeing patchy but promising start to beer sales in new financial year
Coopers Brewery is seeing a patchy but promising start to beer sales in the new financial year, and returning to its malting roots after a 15-year gap will also bring in additional revenues, The Advertiser reported on November 9.
Australias largest locally owned brewer said sales in 2017 grew 2.9 per cent to a record 83.8 million litres, helping the SA-based group cap 24 years of consecutive growth in volume.
As with previous years, consumption in SA was on the decline to 19 million litres, from 19.2 million litres in 2016.
Managing director Tim Cooper said the states challenging demographics and increasing competition from craft beers were affecting sales.
Mostly though its because SA has an ageing population with stagnant overall growth. Most other states have younger, growing populations, he said.
NSW was its strongest market with sales up 6.9 per cent.
NSW made up 27 per cent of total sales, followed by SA with 22.9 per cent, Victoria with 18.7 per cent and Queensland with 16.2 per cent.
Profit before tax fell to A$33.4 million, down 3.5 per cent from A$34.6 million in 2015-16, due to writedowns associated with its Mr Beer (USA) business.
Overhead costs associated with the construction of a new A$65 million maltings plant at Regency Park in SA and redundancy costs arising from a restructure as the business reallocated resources to growing interstate markets were also to blame for a dip in profit.
Mr Cooper said 10 new jobs would be created at the maltings plant, which will open at the end of this month.
Coopers previously produced malt between 1986-2002.
The brewery will require a little over 17,000 tonnes of the 54,000 tonnes of malt a year it expects to produce at the plant by 2019 for interstate and international brewers.
Coopers already has signed contracts with customers in Australia and Asia but is looking for more.
Overall turnover for 2016-17 rose to A$252.4 million compared with A$245.9 mln from the previous year.
The brewer will pay fully franked dividends of A$12.50 per share to its 150 shareholders.
Last month, the company reportedly launched a share buyback with a price of A$375 per share, which valued the group at more than A$436 million.
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