AB InBev disappoints as beer sales are watered down in US

City A.M. Reporter
ANHEUSER-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, reported third-quarter profits below analysts’ estimates yesterday as sales to US retailers declined in the period.

Profit in the third quarter rose 10.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis to $3.98bn (£2.47bn), below the $4.08bn consensus forecast.

The maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s said that beer sales to US retailers fell 0.4 per cent in the quarter, led by a seven per cent decline in Budweiser sales.

It said that in North America, its largest market, the introduction of higher-priced brands such as Bud Light Platinum and Bud Light Lime-A-Rita, resulted in market share gains for its Bud Light products.

In its second-largest market Brazil, the group said it lost some market share from a year earlier because of price increases.

Overall, the brewer kept its guidance for revenue per hectolitre sold to increase ahead of inflation on a constant geographical basis.

It said it now expected a high-single digit increase in revenues per hectolitre in Brazil, a change from its previous guidance that saw increases in line with inflation.

Profits in Western Europe increased 9.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis even as volumes declined, as the group gained market share in Germany with its Hasseroeder and Beck’s brands.