Brewing giant AB InBev blamed poor weather for a 3.5% year-on-year fall in global first-quarter profits today, as volumes declined in the UK and Western Europe.
The company’s earnings before interest, taxes, amortization and depreciation dropped to $3.43bn (£2.21bn). Organic sales went up 1.5% to $9.17bn.
UK volumes declined 4.6%. AB InBev said gains in the on-trade were offset by pressure in the off-trade.
“The poor weather was undoubtedly responsible for a difficult first quarter for beer sales for the industry which is reflected in our Q1 results. However, positive signs of growth showed through for Budweiser and Stella Artois Cidre, which has grown in the last 52 weeks to become the UK’s number-one premium apple and pear cider in the off-trade multiples by value,” said Inge Plochaet, business unit president, AB InBev UK.
“The Budweiser brand continued to grow in Q1 in the on-trade. This was driven by increased distribution of Budweiser on draught and investment in on-trade activations relating to Budweiser’s sponsorship of The FA Cup.”
Elsewhere, AB InBev’s beer volumes fell 7% in Western Europe, down 9.1% in Belgium and 4.4% in Germany, which the company blamed on “an unusually cold and long winter season”. It also cited the impact of bad weather during Carnival for an 8.2% drop in beer volumes in Brazil.
On Monday, the British Beer and Pub Association said overall volume sales of beer in the UK fell 2.9% in the first three months of 2013.