AB InBev faces headwinds in some key markets

AB InBev faces headwinds in some key markets

Today, Anheuser-Busch InBev reported a drop in volumes and net profits for its full year. Here, just-drinks takes a look at the brewer's performance in its global markets:

  • US: Full-year volumes down 2.2%, sales slip 0.7%

In the US, sales to retailers were down 0.3% in the full year but lifted marginally in the fourth quarter. Total market share is estimated to be down 65bps in FY15. 

Bud Light sales to retailers were down low-single digits. The company expects the brand to benefit from its Raise One to Right Now campaign in FY16. Budweiser STRs declined low-single digits.

Above Premium Brands saw STRs rise mid-single digits, with strong performances from Michelob Ultra, Stella Artois and Goose Island. Their performance was partially offset by losses in the Flavoured Malt Beverages segment, due to pressure on volumes of the Rita's family.  

  • Mexico: Full-year volumes up 7.3%, sales lift 11.1%

A "favourable macroeconomic environment" helped drive volumes growth in Mexico. Corona, Bud Light and Victoria performed well. Focus Brands, which represent 90% of total volumes, grew ahead of the total portfolio, at +9% in FY15. 

Market share is estimated to be at 58%, driven by Focus Brands. Sales growth was driven by Bud Light and sales management initiatives. 

  • Brazil: Full-year volumes down 2.7%, sales up 8%

Beer volumes in Brazil declined 1.8%, while soft drinks volumes were down 5.2% in FY15. The company cited a challenging macroeconomic environment as well as unfavourable weather in Q4. Premium and Near-Beer, which account for 10% of volumes, saw growth, led by Budweiser, Stella Artois, Corona, Original and Skol Beats Senses. 

  • China: Full-year volumes inch up 0.4%, sales lift 9.8%

AB InBev estimates market share to be at 18.6%, driven by the strategy to grow Premium and Super Premium brands nationally. The combined volumes of Core+, Premium and Super Premium Brands grew by double digits in the year, and now represent around 50% of AB InBev's total China volumes.

  • Highlights from other markets

Argentina saw beer volumes lift in the low-single digits in FY15, thanks to the performance of Stella Artois and Corona, as well as MixxTail. 

Canada also saw beer volumes increase by low-single digits in the full year, thanks to strong performances from Corona and Stella Artois.

Beer volumes in Europe were down around 2% in FY15, though they were up around 3% in Western Europe.

In South Korea, beer volumes were down mid-single digits in FY15, due to a "very competitive environment".