Drinks

AB InBev Raises 2022 Outlook As Beer Sales Accelerate

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Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings as beer sales accelerated, and also raised its 2022 outlook to the top-end of its previous forecast range.

AB InBev, the maker of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois, sold 3.7% more beer and other drinks during July-Sept, a growth rate faster than that seen in the first or second quarters, with strong expansion in Mexico and South Africa.

The Belgium-based brewer also succeeded in pushing through higher prices or persuading consumers to shift to higher-priced 'premium' brands in all major markets except China, where a 'zero-COVID' policy has curbed economic growth.

'Strong Consumer Demand'

"We continue to see strong consumer demand for our portfolio and a resilient beer category as we navigate the dynamic operating environment," chief executive Michel Doukeris said in a statement.

The Belgium-based brewer's third-quarter core profit – earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation – rose 6.5% on a like-for-like basis to $5.31 billion, above the 5.2% climb forecast by analysts in a company-compiled poll.

The company said it now expects its core profit to rise by between 6% and 8%. It had previously given a range of 4% to 8%, which it maintains as a medium-term outlook.

AB InBev reiterated its stance that revenue would grow faster than profit. It is facing higher costs for commodities and beer deliveries, though much of it is already hedged. Revenue growth was 12.1% in the quarter, above a market consensus of 10.2%.

AB InBev's largest rivals painted a mixed picture of the beer market on Wednesday. Heineken warned of early signs that European drinkers were cutting back after sales rose by less than expected in the third quarter, while Carlsberg raised its 2022 forecast despite weakening consumer sentiment.

News by Reuters, edited by ESM. For more drinks news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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