AB InBev’s fourth Quarter revenue decline 11%, amid market challenges in the U.S., currency headwinds elsewhere

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the world’s largest brewer, released its 2015 full year financial results on Thursday reporting 11% revenue decline in the fourth quarter. The Belgium-based brewer reported $10.72 billion revenue over the period, from $12 billion. Net profit also fell 10% to $2.29 billion for the quarter, down from $2.53 billion a year earlier.

The company said the weaker Brazilian real and the Mexican peso continued to weigh on earnings.

AB InBev said that its key global brands performed well with sales growing 12.6%. On a brand-by-brand basis, Budweiser turned in a respectable 7.65% growth, Stella Artois edged up 12.5%, while Corona climbed 23%.

The company’s strategic priorities include growing its global brands and it has hinted it intends to increase sales and marketing spend to build on the brands image and consumer positioning.

The firm’s other priority is Premiumization, which focuses on young consumers. In the US, it notes that its craft beer portfolio has been complemented in 2015 with further acquisitions in countries like UK, Mexico, Canada, Colombia and Brazil.

AB InBev confirmed that its planned acquisition of SABMiller, which was announced in November of 2015, was still on track and is expected to close by the second half of 2016, subject to regulatory approval in individual markets.

The company noted that volumes in the US fell 3.3% to 25 million hectoliters in the fourth quarter as mainstream brands such as Budweiser struggled to attract young drinkers.

In Brazil, the economic recession has hampered beer consumption, with volumes down 3.5%.

Mexico saw volume growth of more than 11% for the fourth quarter and 7% for the full year. The company attributes the growth to favourable macro-economic environment and good performance by its global brands (Corona, Bud light) and Victoria. AB InBev predicts an even better year in 2016.

In China, the company is facing macro-economic headwinds, with the impact most noticeable in value and core segments. The company estimates that total industry volumes declined around 6% for the year.

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