A-B InBev not happy with market share

A-B InBev not happy with market share

Strong demand for beer in Brazil and price rises in other markets lifted Anheuser-Busch InBev beer sales in the first quarter of 2010.

A 16% rise in beer sales by volume in Brazil helped A-B InBev to offset declines in the US and Western Europe for the first three months of this year. Group beer sales by volume crept up 0.8% for the period versus the first quarter of 2009.

Price rises helped to insulate the Stella Artois and Budweiser brewer against higher costs, with net sales for the three months up 2% to US$8.3bn.

Normalised earnings before interest (EBIT), prior to one-off items, rose by nearly 7% to $2.47bn, against $2.1bn in 2009.

"We had a good start to 2010, despite a still challenging economic environment, and expect solid operating performance for the full year," said A-B InBev.

"We will focus on driving the growth of our core business while maintaining the operating discipline necessary to maximize cash flow conversion and the deleveraging of our balance sheet towards our long-term goal of net debt to EBITDA below 2x."

Despite gaining market share in markets representing almost of the group's total beer volumes, including the UK and Brazil, A-B InBev said that it is "not satisfied" with its overall market share performance.

The group said it expects volume sales to increase in the second half of the year, particularly in the fourth quarter. The brewer added that its 2010 outlook remains unchanged.

For the full announcement, click here.