Pandemic hits beer sales at brewer AB InBev
The world’s largest brewer, AB InBev, said Thursday its annual profits were cut by half as bars and pubs closed around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The group, which includes the Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona brands, saw 2020 net profit slump to $3.8 billion.
But in the fourth quarter, profits more than doubled to $2.2 billion from $962 million in the same period in 2019 and it forecast “strong recovery” in sales and profits for 2021.
“Following a strong start to the year, our overall results in 2020 were significantly impacted by the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the Belgian-Brazilian brewer said in a statement.
Beer consumption plummeted as lockdown measures were imposed throughout the world since early last year to contain the coronavirus.
But “consumers rapidly adjusted to the new reality by shifting to in-home consumption occasions, increasing adoption of the e-commerce channel and finding new ways to connect with others, reinforcing our confidence in the long-term potential of the beer category,” the group said.
It said sales volumes declined 4.7 percent, but revenues by just 3.7 percent to $46.9 billion due to higher pricing.