Beck's brewer AB Inbev remains on growth track despite US weakness


Despite continued weakness in the U.S. market, the world's largest brewer AB Inbev remained on track for growth in the third quarter. Although sales volumes declined worldwide, sales rose by 3.2 percent year-on-year to around 15.6 billion U.S. dollars (14.7 billion euros), the maker of beers such as Beck's, Budweiser and Stella Artois announced Tuesday in Leuven, Belgium. Organically - i.e. adjusted for exchange rate changes and effects from the purchase and sale of parts of the company - revenues climbed by as much as 5 percent. AB Inbev shares rose 3 percent in the morning.

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Problems in North America intensified in part because of a marketing campaign featuring transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney for the Bud Light beer brand. A promotional post by Mulvaney on Facebook group Meta's Instagram social media platform caused controversy and pissed off some conservative customers. AB Inbev subsequently ended its collaboration with the influencer, which in turn turned supporters of Mulvaney against the brewer. In the U.S., sales plunged more than 13 percent in the third quarter.

In all other regions, however, AB Inbev was able to increase sales, especially significantly in South America. However, sales there also declined. Only in Central America and the Asia-Pacific region did the company sell slightly more than in the same period last year. The Group, which is listed on the EuroStoxx 50 and is one of the ten largest groups in the leading euro zone index in terms of market capitalization, confirmed its forecast for the year.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda), adjusted for special items, rose 2.2 percent in the third quarter to just over 5.4 billion dollars, with organic growth of 4.1 percent. On the bottom line, AB Inbev earned $1.47 billion, 2.7 percent more than in the year-ago quarter. The brewer also announced a cash offer to voluntarily redeem up to $3 billion in bonds and a $1 billion share buyback program.

Out of an overall turbulent quarter for the industry, AB Inbev stood out positively, RBC analyst James Edwardes Jones wrote in an initial reaction. Sales and operating profit were above consensus, he said. Bernstein expert Trevor Stirling also spoke of a solid quarter. The planned share buyback program also signaled confidence in debt reduction. However, the drop in sales - fitting for Halloween - could spook some investors, commented Aarin Chiekrie of investment firm Hargreaves Lansdown.

AB-Inbev rival Carlsberg also confirmed its forecast on Tuesday. The Danish brewer benefited from price increases and grew sales in the third quarter. However, similar to AB Inbev, sales declined, largely due to a rainy summer in Europe./niw/men/ngu (dpa)

Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

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