BELGIUM: AB InBev Expects More Savings From Merger; Reports Weak Q4

Anheuser-Busch InBev has said it expects to realise more savings from its merger with SABMiller, even as it reported weaker-than-expected results for its fiscal fourth quarter.

For the year ending December 2016, revenue edged up 0.2% to $10.7bn, with underlying operating profit falling 7% to $3.54bn. Global volumes were down 3.3%, hurt by a 4.4% drop in non-beer volumes and a 3% decline in beer volumes.

The results meant the group’s full-year revenue rose by just 2.4% to $43.6bn, with underlying operating profit down 2.9% to $13.8bn. Volumes, meanwhile, were down 2%, with non-beer down 6.2% and beer down 1.2%.

The group’s three Global Brands – Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois – saw their revenues grow by 6.5% for the year. By region, it recorded volume growth only in its Latin America West market (+6%), while all other areas recorded declines, including a 1.6% decline in North America and a 2.4% drop in EMEA.

The results mean that CEO Carlos Brito and CFO Luis Dutra will not receive bonuses this year. Dutra noted: “This is the time when our leaders rise to the occasion. Rather than being demotivated, we are usually more energized and perform better.” He also said the group expects revenue to accelerate in 2017.

AB InBev said it now plans to save at least $2.8bn from its merger with SABMiller, up from a previous forecast of $2.45bn. It noted that it had already seen savings of $282m in the 2016 fiscal.