Molson Coors hit by restrictions in Europe

Molson Coors

Molson Coors Beverage Company reported a net loss of $1.4billion in the fourth quarter of 2020 stemming primarily from restrictions in Europe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The loss was primarily driven by a $1.5billion goodwill impairment charge in Europe, where sales, mostly in the U.K., were decimated by government restrictions that largely shut down the on-trade to help curb the spread of the virus.

Sales dropped 7.7% compared to the year-ago quarter, due to performance in Europe and Canada, where governments enacted sustained restrictions to on-premise venues such as bars, restaurants, taverns, pubs and stadiums. 

The results in Europe accounted for 92% of Molson Coors’ fourth-quarter top-line decline.

In the U.S., the company’s largest market, net sales revenue rose 1.9% on a brand volume basis, reflecting success from new brands such as Vizzy Hard Seltzer and Blue Moon LightSky and off-premise growth from Coors Light and Miller Lite, its top-selling brands that combined to grow share of the premium lights segment for the 25th consecutive quarter.

Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley said in a call with analysts that although 2020 was “an incredibly challenging year for everyone,” he considered Molson Coors fortunate because the revitalisation plan it implemented in late 2019 positioned it “well to weather the storms of 2020.

Despite the ravages of the global pandemic, a “leaner and more nimble” Molson Coors was able to “accomplish an incredible amount in 2020,” Hattersley said. That has primed the company, providing “a tremendous springboard for 2021,” in which he projects mid-single-digit net sales revenue growth for the full year as Molson Coors continues to execute its revitalisation plan.

“We grew the top line in the U.S.,” Hattersley said. “Our plan is working.”

The company said it eliminated $1.1 billion of debt in 2020; booked growth of its core brands, Coors Light and Miller Lite, in the off-premise; and its portfolio of above-premium brands hit a record-high percentage of the company’s overall U.S. portfolio in the second half of 2020.

Full details can be found in Molson Coors’ fourth-quarter earnings release, including forward looking statement disclaimers and full financial results can be found here.

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