A-B InBev saw positive volumes in its four top markets, but Europe continues to struggle

A-B InBev saw positive volumes in its four top markets, but Europe continues to struggle

Earlier today (7 May), Anheuser-Busch InBev reported a rise in first-quarter group sales, but net profits were dragged down by higher finance costs. Here just-drinks takes a look at the brewer's performance in its global markets: 

North America

Sales in the region rose by 3.3% to US$3.78bn on an organic basis, the brewer said. Volumes were up 1.7%. Operating profits were flat at $1.47bn.

In the US, sales to wholesalers rose by 2.1%. However, sales to retailers fell by 2.6%, with “unfavourable” weather and a late Easter being blamed. Budweiser's market share fell by around 25 basis points, the group estimates. But Michelob Ultra and its “high-end” brands – Stella Artois, Shock Top and Goose Island – gained around 20 basis points of share. “We continue to invest behind our high-end brands, with a heightened focus on the on-trade,” the statement said. 

Latin America (North) 

The brewer saw Q1 sales jump by 18.5% in the region to $2.66bn. Volumes rose by 8.4%, while operating profits came in up 15.2% at 1.27bn. The performance was led by Brazil, where the company's own beer volumes rose by 10.9%, boosted by “very good weather” in January and February and the late timing of Carnival.

Mexico (Grupo Modelo)

Sales grew by 2.2% on an organic basis to $1.04bn, A-B InBev said. Volumes in the region were up slightly, by 0.9%. Operating profits rose by 27% to $431m. Volumes for the Corona portfolio grew by “over 10%” helped by an on-trade FIFA World Cup promotion. “We are also pleased with the performance of Bud Light, and have recently launched Stella Artois, which we believe has significant growth potential in the super premium segment,” the company said. 

Europe 

Sales in the quarter rose on an organic basis by 1% to $985m. A-B InBev's own beer volumes in the region slipped by 5.3%, while operating profits fell 2% to $193m. In Russia, the company's own beer volumes fell by 10% as the industry continues to feel the effects of government restrictions. In Belgium, beer volumes fell by 3.1%, while in Germany volumes slipped by 6.4%, with a pricing increase being blamed. In the UK, the group's own beer volumes were flat.

Latin America (South) 

Q1 sales rose by 21.5% to $791m, the group said. Volumes grew by 3.9%, while operating profits, on an organic basis, leapt by 22% to $366m. In Argentina, A-B InBev's beer volumes grew by 5.1% due to an “easy” comparable and “innovations”.

Asia-Pacific 

The group's sales grew by 16.1% to 858m on an organic basis in the region. Volumes climbed by 9.5%, while operating profits leapt by 46.3% to 173m. In China, volumes rose by 9.4%, while sales climbed by 15.9% to $853m. A-B InBev said the volume growth was due to “our most successful Chinese New Year campaign”.

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