SOUTH AFRICA – Anheuser-Busch InBev plans to launch Budweiser in SA, it said in its March quarter results on Thursday morning.

The group’s overall revenue grew 3.7% to $12.9bn from the matching quarter in 2016.

Its South African business, gained via its acquisition of SABMiller, grew revenue by “mid-single digits” despite a 1.6% decline in beer volumes.

Anheuser-Busch InBev blamed the drop on “the timing of Easter”.

“Castle Lite continues its strong growth in the core plus segment with packaging innovations aimed at improving convenience for in-home consumption.

Core brands recovered some of the prior year volume losses to cheap wines and spirits through our commercial initiatives,” the company said in its statement.

“The business is well-positioned to grow our global brands, with Stella Artois and Corona already present in the market and plans to launch Budweiser later in the year.”

The world’s largest brewer also suffered volume declines in the US and Colombia, which were partly offset by gains in China, Brazil and Mexico.

It sold 148-million hectolitres worldwide.

This was 41% more than the 105-million hectolitres reported in the first quarter of 2016 before its acquisition of SABMiller, but Anheuser-Busch InBev said it suffered a 0.5% “organic decline” in beer volumes sold over the year.

Despite the drop in combined beer volumes, Anheuser-Busch InBev said the “SAB integration continues at a fast pace, with $252m of synergies captured in the quarter”.

“Combined revenues of our three global brands, Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona, grew by 12.1%. Budweiser revenues grew by 7.3%, with 16.4% growth in revenues outside of the US,” the company said.

“Stella Artois revenues grew by 21.1%, driven mainly by growth in the US and Argentina.

Corona had a solid quarter as well, with revenues growing 18.2%, with 48.2% growth in revenues outside of Mexico, as a result of strong growth in Western Europe and China.”

May 1, 2017: Business Report