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Oct 29, 2020

Molson Coors third-quarter sales slide 3.1% amid COVID-19 restrictions

John Zechner discusses Molson Coors

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MONTREAL -- Molson Coors Beverage Co. recorded a lacklustre third-quarter as ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and packaging material constraints curbed the brewing giant's sales.

The Montreal-based company, which reports in U.S. dollars, said Thursday it recorded net sales of US$2.75 billion for the three months ended Sept. 30, down 3.1 per cent compared with US$2.84 billion for the same quarter last year.

Molson Coors chief executive Gavin Hattersley said the pandemic has presented obstacles for the brewer.

"Like all other beverage companies, one of the biggest challenges this year has been packaging supply," Hattersley said during a conference call with analysts.

"To put into perspective the scope of the challenges, we sold 300 million more cans of beer in the first nine months of 2020 than we did in same period in 2019."

He added: "There have been times over the last few months when demand for tall cans was four times what it was in 2019."

Hattersley said there has been a steady improvement in supply over the last several weeks.

He said the supply of 12-ounce industry standard cans is stabilizing, and the company is starting to improve its inventory of tall cans as well.

Last October, the company announced a revitalization plan with the aim of strengthening its core brands, growing above-premium brands and expanding "beyond the beer aisle."

The company said Coors Light and Miller Lite grew six per cent and 9.5 per cent, respectively, in off-premise sales in the U.S. so far this year.

Molson Coors said it earned net income of $342.8 million or $1.58 per diluted share for the quarter compared with a net loss of $402.8 million or $1.86 per diluted share a year ago when it took a large goodwill impairment charge.

The brewer said its underlying net income for the third quarter was $350.8 million, or $1.62 cents per diluted share, compared with an underlying profit of $321.2 million, or $1.48 per share, in the third quarter of 2019.