Jan 21 - Mixed fortunes for Europe's top food and drinks companies. A fourth-quarter recovery in emerging markets sales boosted consumer goods maker Unilever while SABMiller, the world's No. 2 brewer, was hurt by weaker beer volume. Melanie Ralph reports
Unilever's fourth quarter results delivered a treat for the household-product-maker . Underlying sales grew 4.3 percent with shoppers in Latin America and Southeast Asia helping to ring up the profits. Emerging market sales in the final quarter last year rose to 8.4 percent from 5.9 percent in the third quarter. The results show the consumer goods maker is bouncing back after being hit hard by slower growth in Indonesia and currency devaluation's in Brazil and India. Emerging markets are key at SAB Miller too but there the celebratory drinks have been put on ice Less beer flowing at the pumps put a dampener on it's third quarter sales Beer volume was only up one percent - some analysts had been predicting a three percent gain. Price increases and currency depreciation in economies like South Africa, Peru and Columbia are being blamed. Like Unilever, its been relying on emerging markets. Beer lager rose 6 percent in Africa and 13 percent in China. Whereas demand in developed markets like Europe and North America fell.