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August 14, 2009

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AB stirs a mixed brew

ANHEUSER Busch InBev said second-quarter profit rose 13 percent to US$1.1 billion, helped by sales of stakes in brewing companies but cautioned the recession was flattening beer consumption in key markets around the world.

The figure compared with a profit of US$850 million in the same period a year earlier.

AB InBev reported a 1.1 percent drop in global sales in the second quarter on Wednesday, with Carlos Brito, the company's chief executive, saying: "The beer industry ... is not immune to economic pressures."

For the first half of 2009, AB InBev recorded a net profit of US$1.92 billion, up from US$1.25 billion the year before.

The company credited that performance to its unrelenting drive to raise at least US$7 billion from sell-offs this year, US$1 billion in savings from merging the former InBev and Anheuser-Busch operations and shaving US$1 billion off total costs, and another US$500 million from US operations. During the first half, the company earned one-off gains of US$3.56 billion from asset sales.


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