[BRUSSELS] Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, gave an upbeat view on revenues this year due to higher than expected sales of its premium lagers, showing it could also make more money in a Chinese market in decline.
The brewer of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona, which is planning to buy its nearest rival SABMiller, said it now believed revenue per hectolitre would grow ahead of inflation, having previously said it would grow in line.
The Belgium-based brewer gave no additional comment on its proposed takeover of SABMiller. It is expected to launch a formal bid by Nov 4.
The company retained its view that volumes would improve in the United States, its largest market, and grow in Mexico, with revenue expansion in Brazil of a mid- to high-single digit percentage.
However, for China, it said the economic slowdown and poor summer weather meant it no longer expected industry volumes to grow in the second half of the year.
It said that it still expected to fare better than the market average in 2015 there and said revenue per hectolitre would increase due to strong premium brand sales.
The Belgium-based beer maker also said third-quarter core profit was US$4.40 billion, an overall decline but a 9.6 per cent increase excluding currency and scope changes. It was a little below the US$4.43 billion expected in a Reuters poll of 10 analysts.
Overall volumes rose by 1.5 per cent in the July-Sept period, with increases beer sales across the Americas. However, price hikes and consumer shifts to more expensive beers meant revenue grew by 7.9 per cent.