Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, reported higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings and repeated its forecast for profit growth this year.
The Belgium-based company, which makes around a quarter of all beer drunk globally, said its core profit (EBITDA) rose by 5.0% on a like-for-like basis to $4.91 billion (€4.5 billion), against expectations of a 0.4% increase in a company-compiled poll.
“Our business delivered another quarter of profitable growth. [...] We continue to invest in our strategic priorities for the long-term,” said Michel Doukeris, CEO of AB InBev.
The company witnessed a 1.4% decline in volumes, with beer volumes down by 1.8% and non-beer volumes up by 0.5% in the second quarter.
In the first half, total volumes declined by 0.3%, with own beer volumes down by 0.8% and non-beer volumes up by 2.1%.
Underlying profit in the second quarter amounted to $1.5 billion (€1.4 billion), while it stood at $2.7 billion (€2.5 billion) in the first half.
The company witnessed high single digit top- and bottom-line growth in Europe. Revenue growth in the period was driven by pricing actions and the continued momentum of the company's premium and super premium brands, it noted.
Volumes declined by mid-single digits, outperforming a soft industry in the majority of its key markets, the company noted.
The company aims to continue to drive premiumisation across the continent as its premium and super premium brands delivered double-digit revenue growth during quarter, led by Corona and Budweiser.
Commenting on its performance, Laurence Whyatt of Barclays said, "Against consensus numbers, ABI beat in 4/5 divisions at both volumes and sales, with only South America being below estimates. With much investor focus on Bud Light in the USA, it is helpful to see beats all the way down the North America division, suggesting that analysts have over-estimated the impact here.
"One critique we will no doubt see today will be the impact of hyperinflation in Argentina, without which Q2 revenue would have been 4.6%."