Budweiser maker AB InBev has upgraded its earnings growth forecast for 2021 after it reported a surprise jump in profit.
An unexpected third-quarter profit increase came after the world’s largest brewer’s beer sales were boosted by Brazilian consumers.
The Belgium-based brewer said on Thursday it anticipated EBITDA to grow between 10 per cent and 12 per cent in 2021, compared with an initial 8 per cent to 12 per cent growth forecast.
Shares in the Stella Artois maker soared more than 7 per cent on Thursday morning, making them the stand out performer in the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European shares.
AB InBev said core profit rose 3.0 per cent on a like-for-like basis in the July-Sept period, against an expected 2.3 per cent drop, according to a company-compiled poll.
Revenue rocketed 15.3 per cent in Brazil after consumers bought more beer and opted for higher-priced products.
Colombia and South Africa also saw increased revenue and profits, thanks to the easing of coronavirus restrictions on socialising.
Revenue declined in the US, with supply chain disruptions blamed, while the brewer also took a hit in Mexico and China due to pandemic side effects.
Across Europe, AB InBev said there was “continued top- and bottom-line growth” that was ahead of the levels in the third quarter of 2020 and pre-Covid levels. Growth had been supported “by premiumization and on-premise recovery.”
As vaccination rates increased in the brewer’s key European markets and pubs and bars recovered from lockdown, the brewer’s performance was improving, it said.
“During the third quarter, we delivered top- and bottom-line growth versus both 2020 and pre-pandemic levels of 2019 driven by relentless execution, investment in our brands and accelerated digital transformation,” the brewer’s CEO, Michel Doukeris, added.
“As a result of our performance and our continued momentum we are raising the bottom-end of our EBITDA guidance,” Doukeris said.
Beer rival Heineken reported lower than expected sales on Wednesday, following lockdown measures in Vietnam.
It reported disappointing sales in Europe too, after failing to deliver an expected uplift.
The brewer blamed poor summer weather in northern Europe, as well as logistics disruptions in the UK.