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BELGIUM: Brazil propels Anheuser-Busch InBev H1 beer sales

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Strong gains in Brazil and a boost from the FIFA World Cup helped Anheuser-Busch InBev to increase beer sales in the first half of 2010, with the Budweiser brewer also reporting a solid profits rise.

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A 15% jump in beer sales by volume in Brazil for the six months to the end of June helped Anheuser-Busch InBev to offset a 5% drop in North America. Group volume sales increased by 1.5% for the period.

Net sales rose by 3% to US$17.7bn for the half-year, compared to the same period of 2009, the Stella Artois and Budweiser brewer said today (12 August).

The firm said that volumes rose ahead of its expectations for the six months. Meanwhile, the brewer said it was pleased with a "solid" profits performance.

Normalised profits attributable to A-B InBev shareholders reached $2.3bn for the half-year, versus $1.9bn last year. Group EBITDA rose by more than 5%, again ahead of company expectations, to $6.4bn.

Volume sales accelerated to 2% growth in the second quarter. This was largely thanks to good weather and the firm's position as official beer sponsor to the FIFA World Cup, which began in South Africa in June.

"For local brands like Brahma, Harbin and Jupiler, the excitement of full immersion as official FIFA World Cup local sponsors for the first time translated into unprecedented regional consumer engagement and brand exposure," said the group.

It added that the World Cup also boosted early sales of Budweiser in Russia, where the brand was launched in May.

In its outlook, A-B InBev said that it expects EBITDA to accelerate in the third and fourth quarters of the year. It added that volume sales will look better in North America in the second half, due to an easier comparative period. 

Cost of sales per hectolitre are expected to be flat for the full-year, said the brewer.


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