Belgian business: AB InBev reports 1.5 billion dollar Q3 net profit

13th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's biggest brewer following a merger last year, reported 1.5 billion dollars (one billion euros) in third quarter net profit Thursday, but sales and volumes fell.

BRUSSELS - The Budweiser brewer's net profits were more than double the 690 million dollars reported for the same period last year by InBev alone. InBev's takeover of US-based Anheuser Busch in 2008 created the new company.

"Third quarter results came in largely as expected: consolidated volumes fell 3.2 percent versus the most difficult comparison of the year," chief financial officer Felipe Dutra said in a statement.

"However, we gained or maintained market share in six of our key markets."

The results showed that combined operating expenses for distribution, sales and marketing and administration fell 3.7 percent in the third quarter and 4.7 percent over the first nine months of the year, helped by "synergy programmes in the US."

"Anheuser-Busch InBev enters the fourth quarter a much stronger company than at the start of the year, with a significantly improved balance sheet," added chief executive Carlos Brito.

Pointing to divestments running to 9.4 billion dollars -- well above the targeted 7.0 billion dollars -- he said the company "can now focus all of our efforts on growing our core business."

Anheuser-Busch InBev's flagship beer brands also include Stella Artois and Beck's. InBev bought US brewing giant Anheuser-Busch last November for 52 billion dollars.

It has sought to sell off assets considered not to be central to its business model to help pay down 45 billion dollars of debt it built up to pay for Anheuser-Busch.

In October, it sold its central European operations to private equity firm CVC for up to three billion dollars, as well as a rump of US theme parks for a potential 1.84 billion dollars.

Other disposals include Chinese, Scottish and South Korean beer interests as well as US container and lid plants.

The results statement said the company had repaid 12 billion dollars of prime debt in October, one year ahead of schedule.


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