SABMiller unit says Peru growth outlook robust

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Peru’s largest brewer will start a $300 million expansion next year to boost output at its five plants, an executive for the SABMiller unit said on Friday.

The expansion by Backus and Johnston is expected to take three years, Felipe Cantuarias, a company spokesman, said.

Beer consumption in Peru was more than 42 liters (11.1 gallons) per person so far this year, Cantuarias said, noting it was a record amount for the country.

By comparison, the Czech Republic consumed 158.6 liters (41.8 gallons) per person in 2009, according to a report in The Economist.

“We still have a long way to go,” Cantuarias said.

Peru’s economy is forecast to grow this year at least 6.7 percent, despite uncertainty about a possible global crisis, lower than the 8.8 percent expansion in 2010.

Cantuarias said Backus and Johnston expects to close this year with a “sustained growth” in sales, mainly of its brands Cristal, Pilsen and Cusquena.

“In the first part of the year sales grew 11 percent sales and in the second half of the year we have seen that domestic consumption remains strong,” said the executive.

Backus and Johnston last year reported net sales of 2.67 billion soles ($988 million), according to the company.