(Updates with merger savings)
BRUSSELS, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, increased its cost-savings target from its takeover of SABMiller and saw profits rise in its second-most important market, Brazil, for the first time in nearly two years in the third quarter.
The maker of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois, which bought its next-largest rival last year for around $100 billion, said it had increased its synergy savings target for the next three years to $3.2 billion from $2.8 billion, having achieved $1.75 billion until now.
The Belgium-based company reported a 4 percent decline in beer volumes in Brazil, but a sharp 13.1 percent increase in the price per litre, prompting the company to say it appeared past the worst.
"We remain cautiously optimistic about the Brazilian economy, and are confident in our commercial plans and our ability to accelerate EBITDA growth and margin recovery for the balance of the year," the company said in a statement
Latin America's largest economy is emerging unevenly and slowly from its worst recession in more than a century.
By contrast, profits slipped in its largest market, the United States, where shipping to wholesalers was hampered by hurricanes ripping into Florida and Texas, although the company's market share also slipped.
AB InBev estimated the hurricane impact as a 2 percentage point reduction in core profit growth in the third quarter, resulting in a 0.7 percent decline.
Profit grew in its other large markets of Mexico, Colombia, South Africa and China, although beer sales only increased in Mexico.
Overall, third-quarter core profit (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) was up 13.8 percent on a like-for-like basis to $5.73 billion, not far off the median forecast in a Reuters poll of $5.76 billion. (Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek)