BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, increased profits by more than expected in the third quarter after charging more for the same amount of beer.
The maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s persuaded increasingly affluent Brazilians to swallow higher prices and U.S. drinkers to stick with or shift to premium brands despite an economic slowdown.
The Belgium-based brewer said on Wednesday third-quarter core profit (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) rose 5.5 percent on a like-for-like basis to $3.97 billion, against a market expectation of $3.88 billion.
Total volumes of beer and other drinks fell by 0.2 percent on a like-for-like basis, but revenue grew by 3.6 percent.
AB InBev said it expected volumes to gain momentum in the fourth quarter, particularly because of relatively weak year-earlier levels in Brazil.
Increases in global commodity costs should be mitigated by the company’s hedging, savings in procurement and efficiency improvements, it said.
By contrast, Danish brewer Carlsberg (CARLb.CO), the world number four also reporting on Wednesday, missed third-quarter profit expectations and lost share in major market Russia, although maintained its full-year forecast.
In October Heineken reported a surprise increase in volumes and revenues, helped by a rebound in Russia and stronger African markets.
The same month, SABMiller SAB.L said beer volumes were up 3 percent in the six months to the end of September, driven by Latin America, but below expectations due to poor performances in Europe and China.
Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop