Belgian AB InBev, the world's largest brewing company, has seen its beer sales drop in the past quarter, with particularly disappointing sales in Asia and North America.
AB InBev saw volumes go down by 0.5 % in the third quarter. Volumes of other drinks did improve (+ 4.0 %), but they only account for little more than a tenth of the total volumes. Analysts did not expect a decrease, certainly not after the strong second quarter that the beer brewer had, in which volumes increased by 2.1 %.
In North America sales decreased by 3.3 % and in Asia even by 6.5 %: disappointing results that was pushed more positive achievements - like the growth figures in Central America (in particular Mexico), where the beer giant saw its volumes increase by 4.7 % - into the background.
AB InBev's total turnover increased by 2.7 % to 13.17 billion dollars (11.8 billion euros), while its gross operating profit decreased slightly (- 0.02 %) to 5.29 billion dollars or 4.7 billion euros; according to the company itself, this was due to rising prices of raw material and higher marketing costs.
CEO Carlos Brito fears that this negative trend will continue into the rest of the year. For the whole of 2019, he now expects to experience a "moderate growth" in gross operating profit. At the time of the presentation of the half-yearly figures, he had still hoped there would be a "handsome growth", Belgian newspaper De Tijd recalls.