UK performance of Budweiser and good growth in China provided a boost to AB InBev in 2013, despite a “challenging macro-environment” and falling beer volumes.
The brewing giant today reported “solid progress” during 2013, with turnover up 3.3% to $43.2bn (£25.9bn) and EBITDA up 8.1% to $17.2bn.
Growth was driven by its global brands, it said, led by Budweiser and Corona, as well as by better revenue management, which has recouped higher revenues per hl.
However beer volumes were below expectations, down 2% over the full year, which the company attributed to “challenging macro-economic trends” in a number of markets. But AB InBev is hopeful of an increase in volume in its key markets: the US, Mexico, Brazil and China, where it is focussing its attention over the coming year - in particular through its sponsorship of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
In the UK, Budweiser volumes grew 3%, despite a 3% fall in overall volume. Western Europe volumes were down 4.2% and down 15.8% in Central and Eastern Europe. The company combined both regions into a single European zone in January.
Volumes in the US fell 2.6%, while the market in Mexico was affected by severe weather and a “soft” economy, with consumer confidence impacted by tax increases.
Performance in Asia Pacific was stronger, with volumes up 9% due to the growth of the company’s key brands and expansion to new areas. Its January reacquisition of South Korean brewery Oriental Brewery (OB) – the business it sold in 2009 following the merger of INBev and Anbeuser-Busch – will be a major addition to the portfolio, it said, once approved.
In the fourth quarter, turnover grew 4.6% to $11.7bn, with EBITDA up 13.1% to $5.2bn.