• Brazil drives like-for-like beer sales
  • Net profits, sales dip
  • Underlying profits strong
Anheuser-Busch InBev says underlying business is strong

Anheuser-Busch InBev says underlying business is strong

Anheuser-Busch InBev has said that it expects stronger profits momentum in the final months of 2010 after the brewer beat most analysts' expectations in its third quarter. 

Another strong rise in beer sales in Brazil, up by 12% in volume, propelled Anheuser-Busch InBev to a 4% rise in like-for-like beer sales by volume in the three months to the end of September, compared to the same period of last year.

Rebounding volumes in Russia and an 8% increase in China, as well as a good performance from key brands such as Budweiser and Stella Artois, helped to offset volume declines of 5% and 1.5% in Western Europe and North America respectively, the brewer said today (3 November).

However, net sales fell on a reported basis, to US$9.3bn from $9.76bn a year earlier. Beer volume sales also fell by 0.5m hectolitres on a reported basis, which includes acquisitions, disposals and currency movements. Profits attributable to A-B InBev shareholders also fell, to $1.43bn from $1.54bn in the third quarter of 2009.

The firm's share price fell by nearly 2% in early trading.

Despite this, the firm's net sales were slightly ahead of most analysts' expectations and its underlying profits were strong. The group's normalised EBIT, generally used as an indicator of underlying performance, reached almost $2.9bn, up 11% on last year when currency and disposed businesses are excluded.

A-B InBev said that it expects stronger underlying profits growth in the fourth quarter of 2010.

"Year to date, we gained or maintained market share in markets representing more than half of our total beer volumes, including Brazil, China, Russia and the UK," said the firm.

For the first nine months of 2010, the firm's like-for-like beer sales rose by 2% in volume. Net sales were lower on a reported basis, but they rose by 4% on a like-for-like basis.

For the full announcement, click here.