World Cup drinking in Brazil gives beer company AB InBev big boost

Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:33am EDT
 
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By Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona beers experienced a sharp surge in sales in Brazil during the World Cup with the month-long contest leading to consumption of an extra 140 million liters or 2 million barrels.

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, said on Thursday this helped it to earn more than expected in the second quarter, along with strength in China and Mexico and an exceptional gain.

The company, which sold more than one in five beers drunk worldwide last year, also took advantage of Brazil's hosting of the soccer tournament to propel sales of soft drinks, which increased by far more than did beer sales.

Pepsi, which AB InBev bottles and distributes in Latin America, had fared well, as had the company's own caffeine-rich Guarana Antarctica, a sponsor of the Brazil soccer team.

Brazil, the company's second-largest market, accounts for more than two-thirds of the group's non-beer sales, themselves about a 10th of overall volumes.

Asia-Pacific and Mexican earnings were higher than expected, while increased marketing did cut into margin in Latin America North, including Brazil.

The brewer retained a forecast that the Brazilian and Mexican markets would return to growth this year due to the soccer tournament and stronger economies and that volumes in China would be solid.

The United States, AB InBev's largest market, would see an improvement due to a stronger economy, partly offset by an exceptionally cold winter that hit brewers in the first quarter.   Continued...

 
A waiter tastes a beer ahead of an Anheuser-Busch InBev shareholders meeting in Brussels April 30, 2014.   REUTERS/Yves Herman