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US: Anheuser names non-family CEO as Q1 up

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The US brewing giant Anheuser-Busch saw its first-quarter profits jump 16%, led by higher pricing and the success of its malt-based RTD Bacardi Silver. The company also announced that it was breaking a 142-year-old run by naming a non-family member as its chief executive.

Patrick Stokes, 59, who is currently in charge of the company's US beer business, will become president and chief executive on July 1. He will replace August Busch III, who will remain as chairman and who turns 65 in June.  The news was well received in the marketplace, where Stokes is well respected.

First quarter net profits for the company were US$456m, compared with US$394m for thew same period a year earlier. Net sales rose 3% to US$3.14 billion, the company said. In particular these were driven by a 5.1% increase in domestic beer sales.

However analysts remained concerned that shipments to domestic retailers were only up 1.4% and Anheuser-Busch shares closed down US$1.32, or 2.5%, at $51.70.

However A-B remained confident for the full year. "With favorable year-to-date results, we are raising our earnings per share growth target for 2002 to 13%," August Busch III said in a statement. "In addition, we remain confident in our ability to consistently achieve double-digit earnings per share growth over the long term, with a 12% average annualized target through 2004."


Companies: Bacardi Ltd

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