Anheuser-Busch InBev sees profit rise as cost-cutting drive kicks-in

THE world’s largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev made a $1.28bn (£850m) profit in the last quarter of 2009.

Anheuser-Busch InBev has made a series of cost cuts to tackle plummeting beer sales in the global economic slowdown.

The brewer is poised to cut 800 jobs across western Europe as part of the shake-up.

The company made a $29m profit in the last three months of 2008 when it faced high costs linked to InBev’s takeover of Anheuser.

But the group, whose brands include Stella Artois and Becks, said the integration was now “essentially complete”.

Revenues in the final quarter of 2009 rose 3.7 per cent to $9.3bn.

Financial officer Felipe Dutras said: “We see no improvement in the operating environment today but for the full year we expect beer volumes to be in positive territory,”

For the whole of 2009, profit rose to $4.6bn from $1.9bn in 2008.

The group, which also makes Budweiser, added that global demand for beer remained “relatively resilient”, despite the weakness in global economies, and said that it was the market leader in the US and Brazil.

Meanwhile, in January staff at two of the company’s plants in Belgium set up a blockade to disrupt beer supplies after the company announced 263 job cuts.

InBev was formed in 2004 when Belgian Interbrew merged with Brazil’s AmBev.

The company also has a brewery in Newport, Wales, which makes Stella for the UK market.