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The Molson Coors brewery, in Montreal, on June 3, 2015.Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

Molson Coors Beverage Co. reported higher profits and revenues in its latest quarter as its shift to a simplified, more lucrative product line and the ongoing economic reopening boosted sales.

The Colorado and Montreal-based company’s upbeat third quarter results released Thursday came despite headwinds from inflation and global supply chain challenges.

Gavin Hattersley, president and CEO of Molson Coors, said transportation availability and cost stood out as a key pressure point for the company for the three months ended Sept. 30.

“Fuel prices are up and truckers are in short supply around the world,” he said during a conference call with analysts.

“Driver shortages at our existing carriers are forcing us to use the spot market and to pay spot market rates, which are significantly higher.”

One in four of the company’s shipments now rely on the spot market, a situation that is pushing up inflation, Hattersley said.

While August and September were challenging months, Molson Coors has taken steps to mitigate supply chain issues and has increased shipments so far in the fourth quarter, in part by shipping more beverages by rail, he said.

Meanwhile, Coors Light – the company’s biggest brand – grew its market share in the U.S. during the third quarter, the first time in more than half a decade.

The company also sold nearly two million cases of non-alcohol products so far this year, a record for Molson Coors as it aims to deliver on its “beyond beer ambitions.”

It’s also increasingly focusing on premium beverages rather than economy brands, a strategy the company calls “portfolio premiumization.”

Molson Coors said net sales of its “above premium” portfolio surpassed 25 per cent of the company’s brand volume net sales revenue on a trailing twelve month basis for the first time since its revitalization plan was announced in 2019.

The company said it earned a net income of US$453 million or $2.08 per diluted share in its third quarter, up 32.1 per cent from US$342.8 million or $1.58 a diluted share a year earlier.

Underlying earnings for the third quarter were US$380.5 million or $1.75 per share, compared with US$350.8 million or $1.62 per share in the third quarter of 2020.

Molson Coors, which reports in U.S. dollars, said revenues increased 2.5 per cent to US$2.82 billion from US$2.75 billion in the prior year’s quarter.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of US$1.53 per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

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