USER-BUSCH InBev, the world’s largest brewer, has cut its sales forecast for Brazil, its second-biggest market – in part because rising food prices are reducing the amount of money that consumers there have to spend on beer.
Shares in the maker of Budweiser, Stella and Beck’s fell over one per cent in Belgium yesterday after it missed first-quarter profit forecasts and said Brazilian sales volumes were likely to be flat or down by a low-single-digit percentage this year. It had previously forecast low-to-mid single digit growth in Brazil.
AB InBev said it sold 4.1 per cent less beer and other drinks in the first three months compared with last year on a like-for-like basis. It also reported declines in every region except Asia, where China was exceptionally strong.
Core profit rose 0.9 per cent to $3.43bn (£2.2bn), but was below even the lowest forecast in a poll of 12 brokers, for which the average expectation was $3.58bn.
In the US tax and petrol price rises and a harsher winter than in 2012 resulted in a 4.1 per cent decline in sales to retailers and a squeeze of margins.