US: A-B sales and profit up in Q4
Gross sales for the quarter rose by 6.8% from US$3.37 billion to US$3.59 billion, while net sales stood at US$3.09 billion, up 7% from US$2.89 billion last year.
Net income from international operations rose by 32.5%, the company said, with a strong performance from Mexican brewer, Grupo Modelo, in which A-B owns a 50% stake, a key driver behind the growth.
For the full year, A-B's earnings reached US$1.93 billion, or $2.20 a share.
The world's largest brewer said that it expected earnings per share for the first quarter to rise "in line" with its 12% growth forecast for the coming full year, on the back of stronger case volumes and buoyant pricing. Growth of 12% over the full year would give full-year earnings for 2003 of US$2.46 a share, while analysts have forecast an average of US$2.47 per share according to a First Call poll.
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