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Anheuser-Busch Reports Profit Grew 6.1 Percent

Anheuser-Busch, the U.S.' largest brewer, said Wednesday its second-quarter profit rose 6.1 percent, on a 6.1 percent rise in sales.

The maker of Budweiser, Bud Light and other beers earned $677 million, or 88 cents per share, in the three months ended June 30; the figures are up from $638 million, or 82 cents per diluted share, in the same period in 2006. Net sales after excise taxes also rose 6.1 percent to $4.52 billion, from $4.26 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had expected earnings per share of 86 cents.

Anheuser-Busch shares rose 82 cents, or 1.67 percent, to $49.94 in Wednesday afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company also said its board has raised the regular quarterly dividend rate by 11.9 percent to 33 cents, from 29.5 cents per share. The higher rate is payable Sept. 10 to shareholders of record on Aug. 9.

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"Anheuser-Busch had a solid quarter in many aspects of our core operations," said August Busch IV, president and chief executive officer.

"Led by U.S. beer operations, all of our business segments reported improved earnings in the second quarter, and the company is on track to deliver accelerating earnings growth in the second half of the year."

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