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AB InBev Cuts Brazil Outlook After Weak Start to Year

AB Inbev
Source: Abinbev.com
AB Inbev

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, cut its outlook for full-year growth in its second-biggest market, Brazil, on Tuesday after first-quarter earnings fell short of expectations.

The company, which has a two-third share of the giant Brazilian beer market, said Brazilians drank 8.2 percent less beer than a year ago due to the earlier timing of Carnival, shortening the summer season, poor weather and high food inflation. It also lost market share.

It now expected volumes there for the whole of 2013 to be either flat or down by a low single-digit percentage. It had previously forecast low to mid-single digit growth.

In the United States, where AB InBev has about half of the market, tax and petrol price rises and a harsher winter than in 2012 resulted in a 4.1 percent decline in sales to retailers.

The Belgium-based company had predicted a slow start to the year, but its new forecast that first-quarter problems would persist echoes the views of rival Heineken last week.

The world's third largest brewer suffered lower beer sales in all regions except Asia and lowered its expectations for growth this year, with continued impact from austerity-hit Europe and inflation in Nigeria.