Molson Coors Brewing Co. reported lower-than-expected quarterly profit Tuesday, hurt by weak sales volume, higher expenses and a higher tax rate.
"In the first quarter of 2010, we continued to face challenging economic and beer industry conditions, primarily as the result of high unemployment and a slow recovery in consumer confidence," said Molson chief executive officer Peter Swinburn.
The brewer of Coors Light and Molson Canadian said profit was $104.6-million, or 56 cents per share, in the first quarter, up from $75.7-million, or 41 cents per share, a year earlier. The increase was largely due to a gain related to discontinued operations.
Excluding items, the brewer earned 37 cents per share.
On that basis, analysts on average were expecting 45 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales rose nearly 15 per cent to $947.0-million, helped by price increases. Volume declined 3.8 per cent to 10.1 million hectolitres.
In the United States, where Molson formed the MillerCoors joint venture in July, 2008, with SABMiller PLC , profit edged up slightly as higher beer prices and cost savings helped offset lower sales volumes and higher commodity costs.
Molson's first-quarter tax rate was 19 per cent on an underlying basis. It expects its full-year tax rate to be in the range of 18 per cent to 22 per cent on the same basis.