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BRAZIL: AmBev Q4 paints a rosy picture

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AmBev has posted a rise in Q4 net profit. The Brazilian brewer said yesterday (2 March) that both profit and revenue performed well in the last three months of 2004.

Net profit for the quarter to 31 December rose to BRL459.7m (US$174m) from BRL433.7m in the corresponding period a year earlier. AmBev highlighted that it has set aside 43% of pretax income for taxes and provisions.

Net sales for the period leapt by 60% to BRL4.5bn from BRL2.81bn in Q4 2003, while EBITDA was up by 66% year-on-year to BRL1.77bn. AmBev credited the sales rise to recent acquisitions and economic growth in its domestic market of Brazil, and Argentina.

AmBev earned 26% of net revenue from its new North American business, including Canadian brewer Labatt, which was consolidated into results last September after AmBev and Interbrew merged to form InBev. Another 14% of revenue came from Latin American operations outside Brazil, where AmBev earned income on its Quinsa asset in Argentina, expanded sales at its fledging Guatemala business, launched its Brahma brand in Ecuador, and acquired a soft drinks distributor and started building a brewery in the Dominican Republic.

Spending on sales and marketing more than doubled to BRL698m as AmBev battled to win back market share lost to local competitor Schincariol in 2003. Owing to those efforts, AmBev boosted its market share to 68.1% of Brazil's beer market by the end of last year from 63.2% at the end of 2003.


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