A strong fourth quarter helped AB InBev improve its annual turnover by 5.1 % to 56.44 billion dollars (46.3 billion euro). Following a 2 % volume drop in 2016, it now had a 0.2 % increase.
613 million hectoliter
The Belgian-Brazilian beer giant sold 613 million hectoliters of beer last year, up 0.2 % mainly thanks to a strong 1.6 % surge in the fourth quarter. Its three main brands (Stella Artois, Budweiser and Corona) performed well: their combined turnover grew an astonishing 9.8 %, washing away the tepid performance in 2016.
“Our global foot print’s structural change thanks to our SABMiller merger helped us focus on markets with larger growth potential”, the press release stated. The group also took full advantage from its premium strategy: the company now focuses on a improved customer experience and more choice when it comes to craft beers.
The important Brazilian beer market is also finally improving: annual turnover grew 5.6 % and it even spiked 13.3 % in the fourth quarter. However, in the Unites States, both Budweiser and Bud Light are losing ground.
1.3 billion in synergies
The largest brewery group in the world had a 13.4 % increase in EBITDA, to 22.08 billion dollar (18.1 billion euro). The increase is mainly thanks to the synergies from the SABMiller acquisition: these are not only larger than expected, but are also executed more rapidly.
“The combination has led to a whole that has outgrown the sum of its parts”, the company said. The company integration has led to 1.3 billion dollars’ worth of synergies and cost-cutting measures last year.