Brewing giant InBev reports winnings on weather, World Cup

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The world's biggest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev reported increased 2010 second quarter earnings on Thursday -- citing better weather and the impact of the World Cup.

The brewer of flagship brands including Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck's reported net profits of 1.149 billion dollars (778 million euros), beating expectations of a seven-percent rise compared to the same period in 2009.

Created in November 2008 when Belgian-Brazilian brewer InBev bought US giant Anheuser-Busch for 52 billion dollars, revenue nevertheless slipped to 9.174 billion dollars.

"Generally favorable weather patterns helped drive volume growth, except in Asia," the group said in a statement.

Its World Cup football sponsorship also paid dividends, the group underlining that Budweiser was the "number one sold beverage in FIFA World Cup stadiums."

InBev beat expectations for normalised earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, hitting 3.354 billion dollars -- seven percent down on one year earlier, but four percent up on the previous quarter.

However, the group said "we are not pleased with our overall market share performance," and said new brand-building programmes were being implemented to compensate.

A launch in Russia was highlighted, with the group also saying it believed it was adequately insulated from grain price rises related to an unprecedented heatwave and deadly wildfires.

The beer market has shrunk in traditional territories including north America and western Europe, but Russia and other "high potential key georgraphies" mean it said the outlook was for continued growth in the coming two quarters.

The company said in January it was to cut 10 percent of its 8,000-strong workforce across Europe.

© 2010 AFP

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