Profits double for beer giant AB InBev

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AB InBev, the world’s biggest brewer, said Thursday that year-on-year net profits had doubled in the second quarter as sales soared past their pre-pandemic levels.

The Belgian-Brazilian group, which includes the Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona brands, said net profits jumped to $1.9 billion (£1.36bn). Sales hit $13.5 billion, up over 27 percent on the period from April to June last year.

The company said it had “continued its momentum” after seeing business post a strong recovery towards the end of last year.

“We delivered top-line growth of 3.2 percent versus 2Q 2019, even in the context of ongoing impacts related to Covid-19,” a statement said.

Beer consumption plummeted last year as lockdown measures were imposed throughout the world to contain the coronavirus. AB InBev’s overall net profit slumped by half in 2020 to $3.8 billion, with the second quarter profit standing at $921 million.

Commenting on the UK & Ireland results, Paula Lindenberg, president for UK & Ireland at AB InBev subsidiary Budweiser Brewing Group (BBG), said: “As we begin to welcome the return of the “together moments” that are at the heart of our business, we saw volume and value growth vs. 2019, due to consumers continuing to choose our much-loved brands Budweiser, Stella Artois, Corona and Camden Hells in the off-trade.”

In the UK, the company has recently invested more than £115 million in its breweries, and Lindenberg said this will help the firm to capture the continued growth in the off-trade, and the surge in demand as pubs re-open.

BBG said Stella Artois retained its position as the No.1 beer brand in the off-trade throughout the second quarter, followed by Budweiser. Corona, the UK’s best-selling world beer in supermarkets, is performing significantly ahead of the beer category, with a double digit increase in volume sales vs. 2019. Camden Hells also saw a strong performance in the off-trade, nearly doubling in size in this quarter.

“Looking ahead, we are continuing to invest in the UK – in our people, operations, portfolio and in the long-term sustainable recovery of the sector. We are hopeful for the future, and we are well-placed to capture the excitement as consumers across the UK continue to reconnect with loved ones,” Lindenberg said.