Anheuser-Busch InBev has said that revenue in the nine months to the end of September grew 4.1% to $42bn and 3.6% to $14.7bn in the third quarter alone.
The maker of Budweiser and Corona said that its growth was fueled by SABMiller’s former operations and by revenue management initiatives and continued premiumization. The brewer noted that total beer volumes fell 0.3% in the nine months to the end of September and declined 1.2% in the third quarter.
The company hailed the contribution of its global premium brands, particularly Corona which grew 9.6% in the period. AB InBev noted that its cost of sales in the nine months to September rose 2% but declined 1.9% in the third quarter, driven by synergy capture as well as favourable market exchange rates. The firm said it now hopes to capture an additional $400m through synergy which would increase its projected cost savings in four years through October 2020 to $3.2bn.
The brewer continues to struggle in the United States with its premium and premium light segments (Budweiser and Bud Light) underperforming the industry. Additionally, sales-to wholesalers (STWs) declined 6.4% in the third quarter and 4% in the nine months to the end of September, while sales-to-retailers (STRs) fell 3.4% in the third quarter and 3.1% in the nine months. The company notes that the diversion in STWs and STRs was as a result of major hurricanes in the U.S. states of Texas and Florida and it expects the wide gap to converge in the fourth quarter.
Elsewhere, the brewer saw double-digit revenue growth in Mexico in the third quarter, driven by its Victoria and Corona Extra brands, while Bud Light and Modelo family of brands performed equally well.
Brazil, one of the brewer’s largest markets saw an 8.6% revenue growth in the third quarter though beer volumes declined 5.4%, impacted by a protracted recession that is now just beginning to clear up. Nine months sales grew 2% with 1.1% beer volumes decline. The company stressed that its revenue management initiatives implemented in the third quarter helped lift sales.
“We believe that the revenue growth achieved this quarter signals a return to sustainable growth from a strengthened market position in our business,” the company said of Brazil.
In Europe, the firm said it achieved market share gains in Western Europe, with the UK continuing to deliver double-digit top-line growth. However, Eastern European market continued to be a drag with marginal growth in the single digits, caused by ongoing headwinds of large PET ban in Russia, even though its global brands performed well.
On the African continent, the South African market was a star performer for the brewer with a 3.9% revenue growth in the third quarter, though beer volumes declined by 2.5% due to the phasing of inventory levels between the second quarter and third quarter brought about by the timing of price increases. Nine months revenue grew by 7.5% on a 2.1% volume lift.
In the rest of Africa, beer volumes grew in the mid-teens, fueled by strong growth in Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique and Zambia, the brewer said.
Net profit for the nine months to the end of September grew 50% to $5.9bn from $3.9bn in the previous year, and rose 89% in the third quarter alone to $2.6bn.