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Latam, Africa surges ensure SABMiller profit growth

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - SABMiller , the world's second biggest brewer, reported profit growth in line with expectations thanks to a surge in earnings in Latin America and Africa and said its markets should be broadly unchanged in the coming months.

The maker of Grolsch, Peroni and Pilsner Urquell, said on Thursday adjusted earnings per share rose 11 percent to 238.7 U.S. cents in the year to the end of March, almost matching the Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S average forecast of 239 cents.

The London- and Johannesburg-listed company, which now earns 75 percent of its profit from emerging markets, said it expected trading conditions to be broadly unchanged, with growth continuing in developing markets.

The brewer said it would increase prices in places, with input costs expected to rise by a low to mid-single digit percentage from mid single-digits in 2012/2013.

The brewer, which has expanded rapidly since the 2002 takeover of Miller by South African origin SAB, said EBITA (earnings before interest, tax and amortization) in Latin America grew 11 percent on a like-for-like basis.

The continent now makes up about a third of SABMiller's earnings, with leading positions in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, although volume growth slowed in the January-March period, with a decline in Colombia.

In Africa, EBITA grew by 20 percent and overtook both North America and Europe.

Anheuser-Busch InBev cut its sales forecast for Brazil and Heineken its forecast for overall group growth after weak starts to the year. Carlsberg benefited from its push into Asia.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek)

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