AB InBev predicts strong profit and revenue growth this year

AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, expects to deliver strong revenue and profit growth in 2019, driven by the “solid performance” of its brand portfolio.

The announcement comes as the company reports its 2018 results, recording a 3.2% decline in revenue to $54.62 billion, in part due to a struggling performance in Argentina, Brazil and South Africa. On an organic basis, revenue was up 4.8%. EBITDA was flat at $22.08 billion.

In North America, the company’s largest market, sales were marginally down. However, Mexico was the firm’s best performing market, growing volume in every major brand and every region.

Combined revenues of the company’s three global brands, Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona, grew by 9% for the year.

AB InBev was boosted by a strong performance in China, as its super premium brands “continued to grow significantly”. In 2017, the company opened a new brewery in Fujian province, which is capable of brewing 1.5 million tonnes of beer per year.

The company drew attention to its ZX Ventures unit, which delivered “robust revenue and EBITDA growth in the year with strong commercial momentum”.

Last year, the venture capital division acquired UK spirits company Atom Group and Australian retailer BoozeBud, and announced plans to open a craft brewery in China. AB InBev said the platform allows it to engage with consumers more than ever before.

As a response to global health and wellness trends, AB InBev has upped efforts in the no- and low-alcohol sector – an area which now represents 8% of its volumes.

Last year, AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito said he believes 20% of the company’s sales volumes will come from its low- or no-alcohol portfolio by 2025.

Recent launches by the company in the segment include Castle Free in South Africa, Carlton Zero in Australia, Aguila Cero in Colombia and Leffe Blonde 0.0% in Belgium.

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