Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, upgraded its forecast for 2021 earnings growth after posting a surprise increase in third-quarter profit, buoyed by beer sales in Brazil.
The maker of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois said it now expects core profit or EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) to grow between 10% and 12% in 2021 compared with an 8%-12% growth forecast earlier.
The Belgium-based brewer said core profit rose 3.0% on a like-for-like basis in the July-Sept period, against an expected 2.3% drop, according to a company-compiled poll.
During the quarter, the company achieved carbon neutrality for its second brewery and first malthouse in Brazil. Earlier this year, its brewery in Wuhan, China, was the first facility within the group to achieve carbon neutrality.
AB InBev said its revenue grew 15.3% in Brazil as consumers drank more and purchased higher-priced beers.
Revenue and profits were also higher in Colombia and South Africa, reflecting easing of COVID-19 restrictions, and in Europe as vaccination rates increased.
However, they declined in the United States, where there were supply chain disruptions, in Mexico, a year on from post-lockdown inventory replenishment, and in China, where COVID-19 restrictions disproportionately hit its key regions.
Overall, the company's revenue increased by 7.9% during the quarter, while underlying profit amounted to $1.7 billion (€1.5 billion).
Mixed Earnings Reported By Rivals
AB InBev's results follow mixed earnings reported by its rivals on Wednesday.
Carlsberg, the world's number three brewer, also raised its 2021 profit forecast after higher-than-expected third-quarter revenue, helped by recovery in Europe and China.
By contrast, global number two Heineken reported a steeper-than-expected drop in beer sales in the third quarter, hit by a lockdown in Vietnam, while retaining its forecast for full-year results at below pre-pandemic levels.