Central Europe sales volume decreased 5 percent driven almost exclusively by the inventory destocking and a focus on maintaining price growth in all markets. Overall regional market share declined slightly in the fourth quarter as the company decided not to participate in the low-margin value segment in Romania and maintained margins in Hungary.
Net sales per hectoliter increased 2 percent in local currency due to strong revenue management driving positive net pricing, along with value-enhancing innovations.
COGS per hectoliter increased nearly 4 percent in local currency, driven by input cost inflation, particularly grains.
MG&A expenses decreased approximately 1 percent in local currency, due to ongoing focus on overhead cost management.
United Kingdom Business
U.K. underlying pretax income decreased 35.1 percent to $22.6 million in the quarter, due to lower volume and higher input inflation and pension expense, partly offset by positive brand and channel mix, the benefit of cost saving initiatives and lower marketing expense. These results reflect no significant impact from foreign currency movements.
U.K. STRs decreased 19 percent due to a weak U.K. market, a strong fourth quarter performance in 2011 and cycling the 53
week in 2011. Excluding the 165,000 hectoliter impact of the 53
week, STRs declined approximately 14 percent.
Net sales per hectoliter increased 14 percent in local currency, driven by favorable brand mix, higher on-premise pricing, and mix shift toward factored (non-owned) products, partially offset by lower off-premise pricing.
COGS per hectoliter increased nearly 22 percent in local currency, driven by brand mix, input inflation, fixed-cost deleverage from lower volumes, and mix shift toward factored products, partially offset by cost savings initiatives.
MG&A expenses decreased 16 percent in local currency, due to cost saving initiatives and cycling higher marketing expense and the 53
week in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The International segment posted underlying pretax income of $0.3 million in the fourth quarter, up from a $7.5 million loss a year ago due to improved performance in Japan, the inclusion of Central Europe global export and license business results, overhead cost reductions, and the elimination of losses in our China joint venture, which was deconsolidated in the third quarter. The Central Europe global export and license business contributed underlying pretax income of $2.7 million in the fourth quarter.