Corona deal boosts Molson Coors

Molson Coors has reported a 10% increase in net sales in its UK and Ireland business in the first quarter of 2011.

The company was boosted by the addition of Corona Mexican lager to its portfolio, the acquisition of the Cornish ale brewer Sharp’s and rapid growth in sales of the Coors Light brand.

Underlying pre-tax income doubled to $4.6 million, driven by a decrease in pension costs and higher pricing, offset by lower volumes and increasing costs.

Sales of its own brands fell 1.6%, partly impacted by Easter falling in the second quarter this year instead of the first last year.

Mark Hunter, chief executive of Molson Coors in the UK and Ireland, said: “We continued to strengthen our portfolio and we are pleased with our progress.

“We have improved profitability through our value-ahead-of-volume strategy and we continue to invest in our brands to improve brand health, support positive pricing, and generate a lot of excitement in a category that is facing strong headwinds.”