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In this photo made Monday, Nov. 2, 2009, Coors beer is seen at a store in Santa Clara, Calif. Brewer (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
In this photo made Monday, Nov. 2, 2009, Coors beer is seen at a store in Santa Clara, Calif. Brewer (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

Molson Coors profit slips but still tops estimates Add to ...

Molson Coors Brewing Co., maker of Molson Canadian, Coors Light and Blue Moon beers, reported a better-than-expected first-quarter profit on Tuesday, helped by price increases.

Net income was $79.4-million (U.S.), or 44 cents a share in the first quarter, compared with $82.6-million, or 44 cents a share, a year earlier.

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Excluding items, the company earned 47 cents a share, beating the analysts’ average estimate of 42 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose 0.1 per cent to $691.4-million, while analysts expected $703.8-million.

Molson sold 9.9 million hectoliters of beer in the quarter, a decrease of 0.4 per cent.

Last month, Molson agreed to buy East European brewer StarBev for $3.5-billion, to expand its footprint in developing markets.

Unlike its larger rivals Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller Pls, Molson’s business is concentrated in the mature markets of Canada, Britain and the United States.

In the United States, lingering unemployment - especially among core male beer-drinks -- has led to weak volumes and heavy promotions, which has affected profits.

Separately, MillerCoors, the second-largest brewer in the United States, also reported a rise in first-quarter net income on Tuesday, driven by price increases for its beers and warm weather, particularly in March.

MillerCoors includes the combined U.S. operations of SABMiller Plc and Molson Coors Brewing Co, with brands such as Miller Lite and Coors Light.

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