Anheuser-Busch InBev could be set to sell off a number of brands to reduce its debt following the announcement that integration costs from its landmark merger resulted in a 95% collapse in fourth-quarter profit.
The brewing giant, which was formed in a $52bn deal last November, saw profit for the final three months of 2008 fall from €900m to just €49m due to integration costs resulting from the tie-up.
The brewer of Stella Artois, Beck’s and Budweiser said it would now focus on reducing debts of €45bn, with assets worth “at least” €7bn set to go under the hammer.
Earlier this year Anheuser InBev sold its 19.9% stake in Chinese brewer Tsingtao and last month hived off InBev’s American business, including the US rights to lager brand Labatt.
Announcing its full-year results, the company said UK sales volumes had fallen by 2.7% over the past 12 months, despite a revamp of the main Stella Artois brand and the launch of Stella 4.
Across the whole company, pre-tax profit was up 1.2% to €1.26bn before exceptional costs generated by the merger.