Anheuser-Busch InBev's Q1 results by region - Focus

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Earlier today, Anheuser-Busch InBev reported a marked fall in first-quarter sales, with net profits plunging on one-off costs related in part to its pending purchase of SABMiller. Here, just-drinks takes a closer look at the company's global performance, region by region. All figures are organic, unless otherwise stated. 

Anheuser-Busch InBev suffered from a weak trading environment in Brazil

Anheuser-Busch InBev suffered from a weak trading environment in Brazil

  • US  - Total volumes down 1.2%, sales flat

Bud Light's volume trends improved in the quarter, benefitting from the new Bud Light Party campaign that was launched during Super Bowl 50 in February. The brand's STRs (sales to retailers) declined by just over 1% in the three months to the end of March.

The company said its Budweiser marketing campaign, built around quality and heritage credentials, "continues to resonate with consumers".  Budweiser STRs declined by low single digits in the three months to the end of March, which, according to AB InBev, was in line with FY15 trends, extending the brand's "best trends in over a decade". 

The portfolio of above-premium brands performed "very well" in the quarter. The strongest performance came from Michelob Ultra with volumes up around 20%.  Elsewhere, above-premium brands performance was driven by Stella Artois and Goose Island. 

  • Mexico - Total volumes up 13%, sales lift 16.3%

Volumes benefitted from an early Easter and favourable comparisons. Highlights in the quarter included Corona's 90th birthday celebrations, Victoria's Mexican heritage campaign, which the company said resulted in "improved preference among young adults" and the Bud Light NFL programme, which helped to drive double digit volumes growth. 

  • Brazil - Total volumes down 8.5%, sales fall 4%

The company described Q1 as the "most challenging quarter in many years" for the country. Declines were down to tough comparisons driven mainly by a challenging macroeconomic environment compared to Q1 2015. Volumes were also impacted by an earlier Carnival holiday in 2016, which AB InBev said symbolises the end of the peak summer season for many consumers. In addition, volumes were hit by price increases to mitigate adjustments to state and federal taxes. 

However, the company's premium and near-beer brands, which account for more than 10% of total beer volumes, collectively delivered double-digit volumes growth. This growth was led by Budweiser, Stella Artois, Corona, Original and Skol Beats Senses.

  • China - Total volumes down 1.1%, sales inch up 0.9%

The company estimated an overall beer industry volumes slip of 4% in the quarter due to economic headwinds. Within its own business, AB InBev believes the core plus, premium and super premium segments have the greatest long term growth potential. Brands in these segments represent more than 50% of AB InBev's total China volumes.

  • Highlights from other markets

Canada saw a 1% increase in volumes, driven by Corona and Stella Artois.

In Europe, the company's own beer volumes grew 2.5% in the quarter with net sales up 4.6%. Increases were driven by the premium brands, especially in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia and Ukraine

In the UK, low single-digit volumes increases for the company's own brands were driven by Stella Artois and Corona. 

Volumes in Belgium and Germany were down mid-single digits, while volumes in Russia were flat thanks to premiumisation initiatives. 

In Latin America South, the company said there was pressure on beer volumes, driven by a weak consumer environment. However, Corona and MixxTail saw growth in Argentina.

In South Korea, beer volumes lifted low single digits in the quarter, driven by the "Cass Freshness" campaign and the performance of the premium brands portfolio. 

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