Credit: One Red Eye/Philip Meech.

London - British drinks firm SABMiller reported rising sales in the third quarter of its financial year as business in emerging markets offset a poor performance in Europe, in a statement on Tuesday.

Sales grew by four percent in the three months to the end of December, compared with the outcome in the same period of the previous fiscal year, said a trading update from the maker of Grolsch and Peroni Nastro Azzuro beers.

In Latin America and Africa, sales rose by five percent and eight percent respectively.

Revenues grew six percent in Asia Pacific and by seven percent in South Africa.

However, North American revenues added just one percent, while Europe posted a six percent decline on the back of challenging market conditions.

“Growth in the third quarter was driven by our emerging market businesses where we are successfully targeting new consumers ... across our brand portfolios,” said chief executive Alan Clark in the statement.

“The combination of pricing and volume growth, particularly in Africa, Latin America and China, supported net producer revenue growth of four percent.

“This was in spite of continued weakness in consumer sentiment, which particularly impacted our European and North American businesses.”

Total beverage volumes meanwhile grew two percent in the reporting period, with lager volumes rising one percent and soft drinks volumes gaining seven percent.

SABMiller, which is listed in London and Johannesburg, produces well-known beer brands including Foster's, Grolsch, Miller Lite, Peroni Nastro Azzuro and Pilsner Urquell.

The group had announced in December that its chairman and former chief executive Graham Mackay had died following an illness.

South African national Mackay, 64, had stepped down as chief executive last April after undergoing surgery for a brain tumour. - Sapa-AFP