AB InBev Profit Jumps Despite Falling U.S. Market Share

By Nick Kostov Features Dow Jones Newswires

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI.BT), the world's largest brewer by sales, reported surging profit following last year's integration of rival beer giant SABMiller, but said its sales continued to decline in the U.S. and Brazil, its two largest markets.

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The maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona said net profit rose to $1.5 billion in the three months to the end of June from $152 million a year earlier.

Revenue rose 5% on an organic basis to $14.18 billion, lifted by the company's portfolio of premium beer brands. The brewer, however, said it lost market share in the U.S. where revenue declined. Revenue also fell in Brazil where the company said it had outperformed the wider industry.

AB InBev's beer sales in the U.S. have fallen as consumers there shift away from American lagers, including its Budweiser and Bud Light brands, toward craft beers, Mexican imports, wine and spirits. Nielsen data for the first half of the year shows that beer volumes in the U.S. have declined 0.6%, compared with a 0.3% rise in 2016.

In response, AB InBev said in May that it was launching one of the largest capital investment programs in U.S. brewing history, investing close to $500 million this year and a total of $2 billion through 2020. Investment in many of its U.S. breweries will allow it to make different beers, while the company is working to broaden its U.S. portfolio and push further into non-alcoholic beverages.

The company said its full-year expectations of an acceleration of revenue growth remains unchanged despite increased volatility in some key markets.

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-Write to Nick Kostov at nick.kostov@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 27, 2017 01:47 ET (05:47 GMT)