Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, proposes to halve its final dividend and has postponed its annual shareholder meeting owing to uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic.
The maker of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois has said that it is proposing to pay a final 2019 dividend of €0.50 per share, down from the €1 it had initially proposed. It paid an interim dividend of €0.80 in November.
The halved final dividend will save the company about €1 billion ($1.1 billion) and help to ease the debt burden from its 2016 purchase of SABMiller for about $100 billion.
At the end of 2019 AB InBev's net debt stood at $95.5 billion.
The brewer also said its annual shareholder meeting will be pushed back to 3 June 3 from 29 April, which means that payment of its final dividend will be postponed to 11 June from early May.
The company, the largest markets of which are the United States and Brazil, withdrew its 2020 outlook guidance three weeks ago.