Anheuser-Busch InBev beat analysts’ expectations as price increases and consumers switching to premium products helped offset falling beer sales in the fourth quarter of last year.
The world’s largest brewer said on Thursday that volume drinks sales fell by 0.6 per cent in the last quarter of 2022, driven by a 0.9 per cent decline in volume beer sales. Beer sales fell sharpest in North America and Asia.
But the Belgium-based brewer, which manufactures Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona, said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation grew by 7.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis in the last three months of 2022 to $4.9bn, outpacing analyst estimates of 7.1 per cent growth.
Full-year revenues grew by 11.2 per cent, while volume sales were up 2.3 per cent year on year. AB InBev said revenue per hectolitre was “accelerating” in the second half of the year “driven by revenue management initiatives and continued premiumisation”.
The company said in a statement that “while 2022 was not without its challenges, including economic uncertainties, elevated input costs and supply chain disruptions which continued to constrain our full growth potential”, ebitda growth was at the upper end of medium-term growth ambitions.
AB InBev raised its dividend to 75 cents per share, up from 50 cents last year.