• Year-to-date net profits jump by 37% to US$5.49bn
  • Sales in nine months to end of September rise by 6.7% to $29.47bn
  • Operating profits (normalised EBITDA) in year-so-far increase by 6.9% to $11.12bn
  • Volumes come in flat, up by 0.4% at 302.5m hectolitres
Anheuser-Busch InBev continues to grow profits as volumes stagnate

Anheuser-Busch InBev continues to grow profits as volumes stagnate

Flat volumes in the year-so-far for Anheuser-Busch InBev have failed to stem profits for the company, as "revenue management best practices" drove sales in Q3.

The brewer said today (31 October) that net profits in the nine months to the end of September leapt by 37% to US$5.49bn. Sales in the period were also up, but by a less impressive 6.7% to $29.47bn. Operating profits - normalised EBITDA - increased by 6.9% to $11.12bn.

The profits performance was in line with A-B InBev's H1 numbers, which showed a 34% climb in net profits despite "soft" volumes in Q2.

In the third quarter, net profits came in 15.6% up on the corresponding period a year earlier, hitting $1.84bn, as sales climbed by 9.1% to $10.27bn. Operating profits rose by 10.6% to $3.98bn.

While volumes in Q3 dipped by 0.3%, A-B InBev saw its revenue-per-hectolitre rise by 10.2% due to the afore-mentioned "revenue management best practices"and the carry-over of price increases from 4Q11 and price increases in 3Q12 in Brazil.

In the US, the brewer saw shipments to retailers in the year-to-date slip by 0.2% and by 0.9% in Q3. Revenue-per-hectolitre grew, however, by 5.7% in the third quarter. China, meanwhile, struggled with poor weather at the start of Q3, with volumes rising by only 2.2% in the period. For the year so far, volumes are up in the country by 4.3%.

Although Western Europe posted modest volume falls of 0.5% and 3.4% in Q3 and YTD, respectively, Central & Eastern Europe struggled, delivering volume drops of 13.5% and 11.7% in Q3 and YTD. Russia was the main culprit, as A-B InBev blamed "industry weakness and share loss" in its value and core brands due to "strong competitive promotional activity".

The Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s global brands delivered collective volume growth of 5.8% in Q3 and 4.2% in the first nine months of the year.

For the full year, A-B InBev said that it expects revenue-per-hectolitre to grow "ahead of inflation", due to "a continued improvement in the portfolio mix and revenue management initiatives".

In Brazil, the company now expects net revenue-per-hectolitre for 2012 to rise by high single digits, as opposed to its previous estimate of an increase in line with inflation.

A-B InBev's share price opened down this morning, before rallying to around yesterday's closing price, at EUR66.01 at 11:20 CET.

For the company's official statement, click here.