AB Inbev sees profits tumble
Published:  05 March, 2009

Anheuser-Busch Inbev has reported its first full-year profits, which were 41% down on the previous year mainly due to the integration costs surrounding the $52 billion merger between the Belgian and American brewing giants.

The business faced difficult trading conditions in the UK, where its beer volumes declined by 2.7%. But it said that the launch of Stella Artois 4% “delivered very good results in the fourth quarter and supported the Stella Artois brand’s first market share gain in the UK since 2003”.

The brewer said the launch had resulted in “marginal cannibalisation” of the parent Stella Artois brand.

It added: “The Beck’s family also presented an impressive performance, as both Beck’s Pils and

Beck’s Vier grew by strong double digits.” But the company admitted that volumes in the final quarter of the financial year were 3.4% below last year.

The brewer is looking to cut capital spending by at least $1 billion this year, and plans to raise $7 billion through disposals.

The company is opening a New York office and installing some of its Belgium-based managers there in a bid to cut costs. Chief executive Carlos Brito and other directors will not be claiming bonuses this year.

AB InBev reported €49 million in profit compared to €900 million a year earlier. Total revenues were up 35% to €5.2 billion from €3.9 billion the previous year.




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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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