Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, has suffered its first decline in core earnings since its formation over a decade ago as recession-hit Brazil depressed beer sales by even more than expected. Sonia Legg reports
It makes more than a quarter of the world's beer but it may not be raising a glass after its latest results. Anheuser-Busch InBev has suffered its first decline in core earnings since its formation in 2004. The brewer of Stella Artois, Budweiser and Corona has had big problems in its second largest market. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SIMON FRENCH, CHIEF ECONOMIST, PANMURE GORDON, SAYING: "Brazil has been really struggling, initially with the commodity price bust and more recently the legacy of public sector corruption. Growth has been very, very disappointing in Brazil and that market has therefore been very very weak for AB InBev that really held down results today." Core profit for the fourth quarter was $5.25 billion - down 3.6 percent on a like-for-like basis and excluding currency impact. Without Brazil it would have risen 6.4 percent. The timing wasn't great. Last year AB InBev paid almost $100 billion to take over its nearest rival SAB Miller. Merger savings have now been increased from $1.4 billion to $1.75. Shares fell almost two percent when markets opened - making them the worst performer on the FTSE Eurofirst 300. And the company says they'll be no bonuses for the most of the executive board.