Bloomberg News

AB InBev Reports Unexpected Beer Volume Drop on U.S.

July 31, 2012

(Corrects reporting period in first paragraph)

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI), the world’s biggest brewer, reported second-quarter beer volume that unexpectedly declined as sales fell in the U.S. and Europe.

The volume of beer sold slid 0.1 percent, excluding the effects of acquisitions and disposals. Eight analysts had anticipated growth, with a median estimate for a 1.3 percent increase. Revenue on the same basis, without the effects of currency fluctuations, rose 4.7 percent as it sold more expensive beers like Bud Lite Platinum.

Sales to wholesalers in the U.S. slid 2.1 percent “due to planned adjustments to our shipping patterns,” the company said. The volume of beer sold in western Europe dropped 7.1 percent as consumers in the U.K. reined in spending on brands including Stella Artois. So-called normalized earnings before interest, tax, amortization and depreciation slid 4 percent to $3.59 billion, the maker of Budweiser beer said today. The median estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News was $3.66 billion.

AB InBev is among brewers expanding their hold in fast- growing emerging markets as consumption in the U.S. and Europe stumbles. The maker of Stella Artois agreed to buy the remaining 50 percent of Mexico’s Grupo Modelo SAB last month for $20.2 billion and bought control of the Dominican Republic’s biggest brewer in April for $1.24 billion.

AB InBev shares have increased 40 percent this year, ahead of SABMiller Plc (SAB)’s 23 percent advance and also outperforming rivals Heineken NV (HEIA) and Carlsberg A/S. (CARLA)

To contact the reporter on this story: Clementine Fletcher in London

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at

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