DENVER (AP) -- Molson Coors Brewing Co. said Tuesday that its first-quarter net income dropped 4 percent, hurt by the cost of its pending acquisition of StarBev, but earnings still topped analysts' expectations thanks to higher beer prices.
The brewer also shuffled its executive ranks, naming a new head for the unit that will hold StarBev, a new CEO for its U.K. and Ireland business and a new chief financial officer.
The maker of Miller Lite and Coors Lite said it earned $79.5 million for the three months through March 31. That's down from $82.9 million a year earlier. On a per-share basis, earnings were unchanged at 44 cents as the company had fewer shares outstanding.
Excluding one-time items such as costs related to its StarBev acquisition, earnings from continuing operations were 47 cents per share. Analysts polled by FactSet forecast 43 cents per share.
Revenue was almost unchanged at $691.4 million from $690.4 million, and was short of the $700.4 million that Wall Street expected. Worldwide beer volume fell less than 1 percent to 9.9 million hectoliters.
The company said higher costs for materials and pensions hurt results in Canada and the U.K., as did higher marketing spending in the U.K. But earnings climbed in the U.S. because of higher prices and more profitable beers sold.
Molson Coors, based in Denver, said that it expects to complete its $3.54 billion acquisition of StarBev by the second quarter's end. StarBev is a Central European brewer.
Mark Hunter, currently CEO of Molson Coors' U.K. and Ireland business, will become CEO of the new division containing StarBev. StarBev's current CEO, Alain Beyens, will leave the company once the deal closes.
Stewart Glendinning, currently Molson Coors' CFO, will replace Hunter as head of the U.K. and Ireland business. Gavin Hattersley will be the company's new CFO. He had been CFO of MillerCoors, the U.S. joint venture Molson Coors owns with U.K. brewer SAB Miller plc.
Shares dropped $1.08, or 2.6 percent, to $40.96 in morning trading.