Bloomberg News

AB InBev Quarterly Revenue Misses Estimates as U.S. Sales Slide

November 09, 2011

Nov. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world’s biggest brewer, reported third-quarter revenue that missed analysts’ estimates as it sold less beer in the U.S. and central and eastern Europe, offsetting gains in Latin America.

So-called organic sales rose 3.6 percent, the Leuven, Belgium-based company said today in a statement. The median estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was 4.1 percent. The volume of its own brands of beer sold fell 0.6 percent.

The brewer of Stella Artois, which got more than three- quarters of revenue from the Americas last year, has raised prices in the U.S. and shifted toward more expensive products as sales slow. Market share fell 25 basis points in the quarter as the company lost sales in so-called sub-premium brands. The U.S. is the world’s second-biggest beer market after China. The volume of the brewer’s beer sold in North America slid 3.2 percent in the quarter.

AB InBev rose 2.6 percent to 40.89 euros in Brussels trading yesterday. The stock has fallen 4.5 percent this year, compared with a 0.5 percent decline for nearest rival SABMiller Plc. SABMiller shares soared in October after Brazilian news website IG reported that it was in talks to be bought by AB InBev.

So-called normalized earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose to $3.97 billion from $3.53 billion a year earlier, AB InBev said. That represents organic growth, excluding acquisitions and currency shifts, of 5.5 percent, compared with the average estimate of 7 percent.

Brazil Sales

Sales in Brazil rose 1.7 percent in the third quarter “helped by a recovery in the industry,” the company said, and it had a 69.7 percent market share in the country at the end of September. AB InBev had sold less beer in Brazil in the second quarter compared with the same period of last year, when sales were buoyed by the soccer World Cup. AB InBev introduced its Budweiser brand into the country, the world’s third-largest beer market, in September, and said sales have so far “exceeded expectations.”

The brewer said Budweiser would be the official beer of the World Cup through 2022 at competitions in Brazil, Russia and Qatar. The company is striving to improve sales of the brand in the U.S. and boost consumption globally.

Cost savings related to the 2008 acquisition of St. Louis- based Anheuser-Busch Cos. were $50 million in the quarter. The company aims to deliver at least $270 million of so-called synergies this year.

--Editors: Paul Jarvis, Jerrold Colten

To contact the reporter on this story: Clementine Fletcher in London cfletcher5@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net.


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