Anheuser-Busch has posted a 26% jump in third-quarter profits thanks largely to growing international sales.

The Budweiser brewer said yesterday (25 October) that net profit for the three months to 30 September reached US$638m. Net sales were up 5% to $4.3bn.

In a tough US beer market, A-B saw domestic volumes inch up 1% thanks to growing sales of Bud Light and contributions from its recently acquired brand Rolling Rock.

However, it was A-B's international beer business that drove its third-quarter performance. The brewer saw volumes outside the US rise almost 6% thanks growth in China, Canada and Mexico, where A-B owns a 50% stake in local brewer Grupo Modelo.

President and CEO Pat Stokes said the company was "pleased" with the performance. "Productivity improvement initiatives, along with somewhat lesser energy cost increases, have helped mitigate continuing cost pressures. In addition, our international beer segment, led by Grupo Modelo, and our entertainment segment are having outstanding years."

He added: "We expect Anheuser-Busch's positive performance to continue through the end of the year and our earnings to continue to improve in 2007."

Reform of corporate taxes in Texas also led to a gain of $7.8m, A-B added.

Separately, A-B announced its quarterly dividend. The brewer said it would pay a dividend of $0.29 on 11 December to shareholders of record on 9 November.