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Oct. 14, 2014, 2:46 a.m. EDT

SABMiller hit by weak China, Australia demand

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By Peter Evans

LONDON-- SABMiller PLC Tuesday said weak demand in China and Australia led to a fall in volumes during its most recent quarter.

The U.K.-based brewer of Miller Lite, Peroni and Grolsch said lager volumes declined 1% in the three months to Sept. 30. Sales in its Asia Pacific region fell 8% in the quarter as poor weather over the summer in China kept consumers away from beer.

Growth was "impacted by weaker lager volume performance in the second quarter, balanced by strong growth in soft drinks," Chief Executive Alan Clark said in a statement.

SABMiller's shares have lurched back and forth this year on speculation of a round of consolidation among the biggest players in the beer industry. Dutch brewer Heineken NV said in September that it had rejected a takeover approach from SABMiller.

Mr. Clark said last week that the approach to Heineken was "assertive, not defensive" and that there was "absolutely no truth" in the claim that it had been part of a ploy to ward off a bid from Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world's biggest brewer by sales.

Write to Peter Evans at peter.evans@wsj.com

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