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SABMiller H1 Net Profit Down 32 Percent

LONDON (AP) ¿ SABMiller PLC, the world's second-largest brewer, on Thursday reported a 32 percent drop in net profit as revenues were hit hard by unfavorable currency movements and lager volumes declined.

For the six months ending Sept. 30, the brewer of Grolsch, Pilsner Urquell and Peroni Nastro Azzurro lagers said net profit was $973 million, compared with $1.42 billion a year earlier.

Comparisons were skewed by exceptional gains of $404 million last year as the company booked a profit from its role in establishing joint venture MillerCoors, while in the current period the company reported exceptional charges of $211 million.

Operating profit before exceptional items was down 19 percent to $1.43 billion.

Revenue fell 21 percent to $8.85 billion, with lager volume down 1 percent on a comparable basis.

Factoring out currency movements, acquisitions and disposals, the company said revenue was up 3 percent while earnings before interest, taxes and amoritzation, also called operating profit, were up 11 percent.

"The weakness of our major operating currencies against the U.S. dollar has affected reported results, but we have continued to generate a strong underlying performance," said Chief Executive Graham Mackay.

SABMiller shares were up 1.3 percent at 1,679 pence on the London Stock Exchange.

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