Budweiser brewer AB Inbev expects another tough year

ANHEUSER-BUSCH InBev said it expects another year of “challenge and uncertainty”, after it reported a five per cent fall in fourth-quarter profit yesterday.

The world’s largest brewery, which was accused of watering down its beer this week, said net profit fell to $1.75bn (£1.15bn) from $1.85bn a year earlier, on losses from derivative contracts, currency movements and commodity hedge costs.

Revenues rose 8.8 per cent to $10.3bn, as the company increased prices and mixed brands, offsetting a 0.1 per cent dip in full-year sale volumes.

In North America, its largest market, sales grew 2.2 per cent, with overall demand in the US growing for the first time since 2008.

Full-year profit grew 12.9 per cent to $7.2bn, while revenue rose 7.2 per cent to $39.76bn.

AB InBev, which plans to open four more breweries in China, said it expects volumes in the US this year to be hit by “tough” weather conditions and a “short-term pressure” on consumers’ income.