Beer brewery AB InBev's fourth quarter of 2015 has remained largely below expectations, with mostly its American beer sales remarkably below par.
111.4 million hectoliters
AB InBev, brewer for well-known beer brands like Stella Artois, Budweiser and Corona, managed a 10.7 billion dollar (9.72 billion euro) turnover in the fourth quarter according to its most recent quarterly results. That means the world's largest brewer largely remained under analysts' expectations, who had predicted an 11.1 billion dollar turnover (10.08 billion euro).
In the fourth quarter, the beer giant sold 111.4 million hectoliters worldwide, both in beer and other liquors, 0.7 % below last year's fourth quarter. Particularly, its American performance is lagging behind: they drank 2.9 % less beer, for a total of 27.3 million hectoliters. European volume grew 2.9 % to 10.3 million hectoliters.
Not as much in Belgium, more in the Netherlands
AB InBev's full-year results reached 43.6 billion dollars (nearly 39.6 billion euro), for a total of 457.3 billion hectoliters (- 0.6 %). Profit dropped from 8.86 to 8.5 billion dollars (nearly 7.72 billion euro), although the drop is largely because of negative exchange rate fluctuations.
Overall, the company did not sell as much beer in North America, South America and Europe, but its more expensive "premium brands" still performed well in Europe. It did gain market share in the Netherlands, it said without giving any details, while its own beer sales dropped in Belgium "with a single-digit number" compared to 2014. The group did point out that it was difficult to compare to the year before, as it contained the World Championship football.
AB InBev also mentioned the SAB Miller merger, which should give the beer giant access to the African growth markets. According to the beer brewer, it expects to finalize the merger in the second part of 2016.