Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Carlos Brito has overseen a slight dip in Q1 sales

Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Carlos Brito has overseen a slight dip in Q1 sales

Earlier today, Anheuser-Busch InBev reported a 62% surge in first quarter net profit, accompanied by a 1.4% dip in net sales. Here, just-drinks analyses the company’s global performance, region by region:

  • North Americavolumes down 5.6%, sales down 3.8%

The company was hit by a 6% decline in sales-to-wholesalers in the US, which it blamed on a difficult comparable, as well as a 1.5% fall in selling day-adjusted sales-to-retailers. The result was an estimated market share loss of about 45bps.

A strong Super Bowl campaign helped Bud Light to gain share in the premium light segment, although sales to retailers were down 2%, leading to a 20bps market share loss. Meanwhile, Budweiser had one of its best quarters in some time, with sales-to-retailers down in the low single-digits. Above-premium brands, led by Ultra, Stella Artois and Goose Island, performed well.

In Canada, the brewer believes it maintained market share, with beer volumes up by low single-digits against a good industry performance.

  • Mexico - volumes +2.1%, sales +8.1%

Bud Light and Victoria delivered the strongest performances in Mexico, although Corona volumes also grew in the quarter, despite a "very challenging" comparable with last year’s FIFA World Cup promotion. A-B InBev’s 'Focus Brands' spearheaded growth with revenues up 4.4%.

The company realised cost synergies of about US$10m during the quarter, lifting total cost savings to $740m since it gained full control of Grupo Modelo last year. A-B InBev continues to target total savings of $1bn by the end of 2016, with most of that figure coming this year.

  • Latin America - North - volumes +1.0%, sales +11.8%

Volumes in Brazil were hit by a 2.2% decline in soft drinks sales, partially offset by a 0.4% rise for beer, leaving the company’s market share roughly flat at 67.5%, it said. "We continue to expect net revenues in Brazil to grow by mid to high single-digits in 2015 with our commercial focus being to maintain a healthy balance between volume and revenue-per-hectolitre, driven by our affordability and pack price strategies, supported by strong field execution," said A-B InBev.

  • Latin America - South - volumes -3.0%, sales +25.5%

The brewer’s beer volumes in Argentina were down in the low single-digits, thanks to "the weak consumer environment and some share loss due to competitive pressure", it said. But Quilmes MixxTail Mojito – a new "near-beer" category launch late last year – is continuing to beat company expectations.

  • Europe - volumes -5.9%, sales +0.1%

Industry decline, partly offset by share gains, sent beer volumes down in low single-digits in Belgium, A-B InBev said. Meanwhile, own beer volumes in Germany also fell slightly, thanks to the impact of first quarter price increases. Innovations in the country include three new liquids under the Beck’s banner and two new non-alcohol products for Franziskaner.

The UK saw a 7% slump in volumes, blamed by the brewer on "a weak industry environment, and a difficult market share comparable".

  • Asia Pacific - volumes +4.8%, sales +15.5%

A "very successful" Chinese New Year campaign drove A-B InBev’s China beer volumes up 4.7% in the quarter, bringing a market share gain of about 100bps against industry declines of roughly 2%. The company’s trio of focus brands – Budweiser, Harbin and Sedrin – grew by 10.3%, supported by good performances by innovations, such as Budweiser’s aluminium bottle, which doubled sales.

Beer volumes fell by about 4% in South Korea – the result of "some estimated share loss against a difficult comparable", said the company.