AB InBev’s sales exceed pre-pandemic levels, but inflation eats into Q2 profits

BELGIUM – World’s largest brewing company Anheuser-Busch InBev has reported top-line growth of 3.2% in quarter 2 2021, ahead of the same quarter in 2019.  

The brewer of Budweiser, Stella Artois, and Corona, produced second-quarter sales of US$13.5bn, a 27.6 percent jump on an organic basis, which strips out the impact of currency movements, acquisitions, and divestitures, from the same period in the previous year. 

In Q2, 2021, total volumes for the world’s largest brewer grew 20.8%, compared to the same quarter in 2020 while total volumes for the first half of the year grew 17%. 

Revenues for Q2 were up 27.6% over the quarter led by the company’s beyond beer business which grew revenue by 45% and delivered an average gross profit per hl that was 20% higher than the company’s traditional beer business. 

The three Global Brands namely Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona also performed well: growing 23% globally in the quarter; and 26.2% over the half-year. 

Regionally, Brazil – one of the company’s main markets, saw revenue growth of 28.6% in Q2 and 25.9% half year growth. 

Volumes in Brazil grew 13.7% across H1 buoyed by enhanced sales from e-commerce platform BEES which was launched during the pandemic and is now used by more than 550,000 retailers in Brazil.  

In the US, revenues grew by 6.8% in the quarter which revenue per hl grew by 4.6%, thanks to ongoing premiumization and revenue management initiatives.  

The company noted that above core segment was a particular strength: with Michelob Ultra and craft brews growing double-digit.  

Meanwhile, the seltzer portfolio – led by Bud Light Seltzer – grew 28%, which AB InBev estimates to be around 2.7x the growth of the industry.  

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Despite growth surpassing pre-pandemic level, the Belgium based brewing giant noted cans and distribution became more expensive, eating into the company’s profits. 

“We had to import a lot of cans from several different markets, cans from Mexico, cans from China, cans from Europe and India in order to serve the high demand,” chief executive Michel Doukeris told Reuters in a telephone interview, referring to the U.S. market. 

In the second quarter, that profit figure rose 31% on a like-for-like basis to US$4.85 billion, against expectations for a 35% increase, according to a company-compiled poll. 

AB InBev retained its forecast that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) would grow by between 8% and 12% this year, with revenue increasing at a faster pace. 

The company said its outlook reflected its current assessment of the scale and magnitude of the pandemic and could be subject to change.

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