Molson Coors reported today that they closed out 2021 with a solid fourth quarter that saw a 14.2% increase in net sales. Those numbers were delivered despite several challenges flowing from the pandemic, including returning restrictions due to the Omicron surge and an inflationary economy.
The global beer maker reported fourth-quarter earnings of $80 million off of $3.19 billion in revenue, well ahead of market estimates of $2.547 billion. That resulted in their board of directors raising their quarterly dividend 12% to $0.38 per share.
According to the company, those numbers were yet another sign that their revitalization plan, launched in October 2019, aimed at creating sustainable top-line growth by streamlining the organization and continually reinvesting resources into its brands and capabilities is working. One of the highlights was the growth of their flagship brands Coors Light up 4.4% and Miller Lite up 7.6%.
“This year, we grew the top-line for the first time in a decade, our two biggest brands each grew net sales and we now have a larger global above premium portfolio than ever before,” said Gavin Hattersley, the president and CEO of Molson Coors.” These were all goals of the revitalization plan, against which we continue to make tremendous progress. While we’re proud of the steps we’ve taken, we’re even more excited about where we can go from here, having established a strong foundation for 2022 successes and beyond.”
Overall for 2021, the company said their net sales increased 6.5% due to their aggressive pricing strategies and a profitable brand and channel mix due to their continuing focus on premising their portfolio. During the last year, the company discontinued numerous economy brands that they deemed underperforming and a drag on their supply chain.
Those numbers were helped because their fourth-quarter net sales increased 14.2% overall. Their numbers outside the Americas were huge, with net sales up 56.4% due to premium portfolio growth attributed to fewer on-premise restrictions. Inside the Americas, their net sales increased 7.6% primarily due to favorable U.S. domestic shipments, up 3.3% as they worked to rebuild distributor inventory levels with more than 700,000 BBLs of beer stocked compared to 2020.
One of the company’s areas highlighted was their continued business ventures in the rapidly emerging beyond beer category, which falls under their Emerging Growth division, which continues to track ahead of their $1 billion annual revenue target for 2023. Their hard seltzer growth was over triple digits for the year led by Vizzy, and the launch of Topo Chico hard seltzer launched in conjunction with Coco-Cola. They plan to continue to dive even deeper into the seltzer business during 2022 with line extensions and deeper expansion of their brands.
They also will be entering into the RTD market in a big way with the U.S. launch of Simply Spiked Lemonade, another collaboration project with Coca-Cola. As the second-largest product in the Coca-Cola portfolio in terms of net revenue, the product could deliver healthy bottom line numbers if successful. They also are planning on leaning even harder into the energy drink market with ZOA, the product launched in 2021 by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and a group of investors and distributed by Molson Coors.
While those numbers were positive, they did report a decrease in EBITDA of 3.5% primarily due to cost inflation on materials and transportation costs, lower financial volumes, increased marketing and administrative expenses.
All of the positive trends they are showing led Molson Coors to lay out a goal of hitting mid-single digits increases in net sales versus 2021. That will lead them to deliver the highest top-and-bottom line growth in over a decade.
“Our progress in 2021 is clear. For the year, we achieved our top-line guidance of mid-single-digit growth, delivered strong free cash flow, further reduced our leverage ratio, and returned cash to shareholders all despite the global macro inflationary challenges,” said Tracey Joubert, the CFO of Molson Coors. “Building off our strong foundation, we have issued fiscal 2022 guidance for both top and bottom-line growth, which underscores our progress against our revitalization plan goals.”