Cost savings and drinkers in key markets shifting to higher-priced beers helped AB InBev to a strong performance over the past year.

The world’s largest brewer said EBITDA was up more than 10% in 2010 to $13.87bn (£8.53bn). Total sales for the year grew by 4.4% to $36.3bn (£22.3bn).

Despite a continuing decline in its US home market, the company’s flagship Budweiser brand posted its first increase in global volumes for two decades. AB InBev said the increase was thanks in part to the brand’s sponsorship of the 2010 World Cup.

Beer volumes were up in the UK for the year, partially offsetting declines in North America and Western Europe. Overall volumes were up 2.1% throughout the year.

The performance was boosted by cost savings of $620m the company said was generated by the merger of Anheuser-Busch and InBev in 2008.

“Much has been accomplished since the combination of Anheuser-Busch and InBev two years ago,” the company said in a statement.

“With our integration now complete, we have a solid platform in place to take advantage of the exciting opportunities we see for sustainable profitable growth in a global marketplace.

“Our financial results for 2010 showed very good progress in spite of the persistent challenging economic environment in several of our markets. However, there are several areas where we know we can still make progress.”

AB InBev said it would double the dividend it was paying shareholders as a result of the year’s performance.

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