Brewer AB InBev has reported robust sales growth of 7.2% for the full year 2012 to a total of $39.8bn (USD). Sales rose 8.8% in the fourth quarter, and profit for the year grew 12.9% to $7 28m.
However, UK product volumes fell 8.2% over the year. The company attributed its UK performance to a weak industry and market share pressure. Sales in Europe have also declined steadily, with eastern European markets like Russia and Ukraine showing double-digit sales declines.
AB InBev’s biggest market, the US, has stabilised, with volumes growing for the first time since 2008. In addition to US, the company is focusing its growth on Brazil and China, where volumes grew 2.5% and 1.9% respectively. It is acquiring and building new capacity in both countries, with a focus on Brazil ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
Sales of the company’s three global brands, Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s, grew by 4.1% over the year. The company is also growing its premium and niche products, like the recently-launched Stella Artois Cidre Pear in the UK, and Bud Light Lime in the US. The premium craft beer Goose Island is being rolled out across US. AB InBev also said it was hopeful of success in the premium segment in China, where the market is growing at 2.5 times the rate of the overall industry.