Sales are down but InBev expect costs to be nipped in the Bud

Posted on 14 Aug 2008 by The Manufacturer

InBev, the Belgium-based brewer of Stella Artois, Leffe and Beck’s, has announced a fall in worldwide sales of 4.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2008, though it expects market conditions and input costs to relent before the end of the year.

The firm, who are set to buy Budweiser producer Anheuser-Busch after a takeover offer of £26 million was accepted last month, said that, though its sales were down, its market share is up as competitors suffered steeper declines. The company’s sales stood at £2.91 billion from April to June, with a net profit of £425 million.

Low expendable income in North and South American has been touted as one of the main contributing factors in the drop.

“Our 2Q results were better than 1Q, as anticipated, but still below our aspirations. Although industry growth in some key markets is below last year, we delivered market share results in the majority of our markets,” said InBev chief, Carlos Brito. “The main market where we have underperformed so far this year has been Russia, where our value and price brands have lost share at a faster pace than we have been gaining share with our core and premium brands. Our overall pricing is healthy, but rising costs continue to put pressure on our margins.”

Refusing to blame the activity relating to the Anheuser-Busch takeover for the downturn, Brito said: “Our team remains focused on driving our organic business. As we look to the second half, we continue to expect an improved performance and the return to EBITDA margin expansion.”

With the takeover of Anheuser-Busch, InBev have targeted savings of £750 billion per year within three years, through economies of scale in shared markets.