Anheuser-Busch has posted a boost in profit for its third quarter, on the back of a broader portfolio and increased high-end beer sales.

The brewer said yesterday (24 October), that net profit rose 11% for the three months to the end of September, totalling US$706.7m.

Net sales increased by 8% on the corresponding period a year earlier, to $4.62bn, while operating income rose to $998.3m from $897.9m from a year before.

The company credited the strong performance to selling a wider range of high end beers, having resolved its wholesaler transition and supply issues with the InBev European brands and accelerated international sales.

US beer sales increased 6.7% due to a 2% rise in sales volume, while international beer sales were up 16% due to "increases in China, Mexico and Canada", the brewer said.

For the nine months of the year so far, A-B has seen operating income rise to $2.62bn from $2.50bn, with sales following suit, up to $1.78bn from $1.73bn. Net profit for the nine-month period stands at $1.90bn from $1.77bn.

A-B president and CEO, August Busch IV, said: "We are pleased with our earnings performance this quarter, with all of our operating segments reporting higher sales and profits.

"Sales volume and revenue growth in our US beer business benefited from our broadened beer portfolio, with greater participation in the high end segment. The wholesaler transition and supply issues we encountered earlier this year regarding the InBev European brands have been resolved.

"Earnings contribution from our international segment accelerated, led by Grupo Modelo. And we continue to expect the company's 2007 earnings per share increase to exceed our long term growth target of 7-10%."

Going forwards, the company said it plans to raise prices for the majority of its US beer volume beginning with several states in the fourth quarter and pushing out to the rest of the country by early next year.

A-B also declared a quarterly dividend of $0.33 per share on its common stock. The dividend is payable on 10 December to all shareholders of record as of 9 November.