AB InBev appoints new executive to lead non-alcoholic business amid sales boost

Anheuser-Busch InBev is revising its business structure to accelerate revenue growth, after reporting a boost in profits for the first half of the year.

The world’s largest brewer’s earnings grew more than expected in the second financial quarter, boosted by the growth of its global beer brands during this year’s World Cup.

Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona’s sales growth accelerated this quarter, with the three brands up by 10.1% globally, and by 16.7% outside of their home markets. In HY18, revenue grew by 4.7%, thanks to strong performance in Brazil and due to higher prices, as volumes rose by just 0.3%.

Jason Warner, president North Europe at AB InBev, said: “Our UK business momentum continued, delivering double-digit revenue growth again in the first half of this year for the third year running. In the second quarter we saw sales of our premium beers benefiting from the warm weather and busy sports calendar.

“Looking ahead, we will maintain a focus on our global brands, low-alcohol and alcohol-free portfolio and the craft side of the category, as Goose Island and Camden Town are now the fastest growing craft brand families in the on trade.”

Normalised earnings per share increased by 15.8% across 2017, and have already risen by 8% in the first half of this year.

The drinks giant — which has ventured into the craft beer category in recent years with the acquisition of US brand Goose Island in 2011 — said it will “simplify” the geographic structure of its business, bringing down its total number of management zones from nine to six. It has created a Middle Americas zone combining the drinks producer’s current COPEC and Middle Americas zones, and will also form a new South America zone, which will merge with current Latin America South zone and the BU Brazil next year, headquartered in Sao Paulo.

The management restructure comes as AB InBev’s executives continue to integrate SABMiller, which the company acquired in a deal with over £79 billion in 2016.

As well as this, the management board will expand with two new positions, one of which will focus on AB InBev’s fast-growing low and no-alcohol brands. Lucas Herscovici, currently strategic VP, will become chief non-alcohol beverages officer, overseeing a category which represents around 10% of AB InBev’s total business.

In a statement to reporters, the company said: “We are making these changes to more closely align with our consumers, make our company more agile in the zones, and proactively pursue growth opportunities.”

Chief Financial Officer Felipe Dutra said that, having completed the merger two years ago, the company “just feel it is the right time to adjust our structure to better reflect the opportunities before us.”

 

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