Harare - SABMiller's Zimbabwe affiliate said on Wednesday lager sales volumes fell 21 percent during the first quarter to June, another sign of the southern African nation's sharply contracting economy.

Delta Corporation, Zimbabwe's largest listed company with a market capitalisation of $1.55 billion, is 38 percent owned by global brewing giant SABMiller.

The company said in a trading update that soft drinks volumes were also down 8 percent and that its customers were moving to cheaper sorghum beer, whose volumes jumped 15 percent during the period.

Delta reported an 18 percent fall in lager volumes during the year to March. Zimbabwean businesses are struggling with high operational costs and debt, competition from cheaper imports and electricity shortages. - Reuters