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GLOBAL: Anheuser-Busch InBev bruised in Brazil, but Q1 profits rise

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  • Q1 net profits leap by 23% to US$2.05bn 
  • Net sales fall by 1.7% to $9.2bn
  • Operating profits drop by 3.5% to $3.4bn
  • Group volumes down by 4.1%; Brazil beer volumes fall 8.2% 

Anheuser-Busch InBev has suffered a drop in volumes in its Q1 - notably in its key market of Brazil - but group net profits remained healthy. 

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In the three months to the end of March, net profits jumped by 23% to US$2.05bn, the Belgium-headquartered brewer said today (30 April). Sales in the period, however, fell by 1.7% to $9.2bn.

Operating profits also dropped, by 3.5% to $3.4bn in the quarter. 

Group volumes saw a 4.1% fall, with beer volumes down 4% and non-beer volumes dropping by 4.8%.

However, the company flagged that total organic sales grew by 1.5%, helped by a strong price/mix and the "premiumisation" of its brand portfolio in key markets.  

Brazil suffered the worst beer volumes drop, down 8.2%, with the company blaming factors such as the earlier timing of Carnival and "poorer weather". As a result, the company said it is revising its outlook for volume growth in Brazil and now expects that beer industry volumes in the full-year will be either flat, or down low single-digits, compared to 2012. 

In the US, sales-to-wholesalers fell by 5.2% in the quarter. 

Europe continued to suffer. Western Europe volumes dropped by 7%, while Central and Eastern Europe saw a 16.4% fall. 

One bright spot was Asia-Pacific, where volumes in China grew by 15.5%. 

The company concluded: "We have confidence in the long term potential of our brands and continued to invest behind them, even in a tough quarter, with sales and marketing investments for the company increasing by 3.5%." 

On its bid for full control of Grupo Modelo, A-B InBev said it is "pleased" all regulatory hurdles have been crossed and expects the deal to complete in June.  

Shares in A-B InBev were today down by 2.65% at EUR71.16.

For an in-depth look at the company's performance by region and brand, click here.

To read the company's statement, click here.

For just-drinks' Storify round-up of A-B InBev's Q1 results, click here.


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