Anheuser-Busch Cos is planning to significantly increase its marketing spend, its CFO said yesterday.

Randy Baker, chief financial officer, said: "We expect consolidated marketing, distribution and administrative expenses to be up 6% to 7%. This increased guidance reflects incremental marketing and support of our domestic beer initiatives."

Baker said the increased spending is "critical to the future of the company."

His comments come after the US brewer reported it had seen its earnings per share fall 3% in the first quarter of the year, compared to the same period last year as it was hit by difficult trading conditions.

Domestic beer sales-to-wholesalers decreased 2.7%.