"We continue to be bullish on Brazil" - Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO
Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Carlos Brito said the company has been present in Brazil for 27 years
The CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev has said the company remains committed to Brazil, despite continued struggles in the market.
Speaking to analysts following the company's H1 results last Friday, Carlos Brito said beer volume declines in the country improved in the second quarter but "not at the speed we anticipated". He said volumes were down 4.5% in Q2, compared to a 10% drop in the first three months of the year.
Continued macro-economic pressures in the country have impacted several major drinks companies as consumers see a decrease in disposable income.
"Although the Brazil beer market remains competitive, our market share trend improved versus first quarter," said Brito. "Brazil beer revenue per hectoliter increased by 6.9% in the quarter, reflecting our venue management initiatives, increase on distribution volumes and premium brand mix, partially offset by growth in our returnable glass bottle (RGB) mix."
Brito said growth in RGBs was an important component of the company's affordability strategy.
"Every five years or so [in Brazil], you have one or two years where things go sideways or backwards, but then that's when you have to take advantage and look for those silver linings," the CEO said. "So for example, the only way returnable glass bottles could ever go back to the off-trade in the big way it's going now is in a situation of crisis like today. Because when times are good, consumers are not necessarily looking for that smart price point and off-traders, they don't like to deal with returnables."
Following the release of its H1 numbers, AB InBev has amended its net sales guidance for Brazil. "Our previous guidance was for net revenue to grow by mid- to high single-digits in 2016; we now expect it to be flat with last year due to the weak consumer environment and increased mix of RGBs," Brito said.
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