AB InBev boosted by US and Brazil sales

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer by sales, reported robust third-quarter revenue growth as the financial impact of slower business in central and eastern Europe was offset by improved sales in the US and Brazil.

The Belgian company behind the Budweiser, Stella Artois and Becks beers said revenues per hectolitres grew 10.2 per cent in the three months ending September 30, despite a 0.3 per cent decline in volumes.

The global brewer said it continued to see good momentum in the US and expects a high single-digit increase in beer sales in Brazil as market conditions improve in Latin America's largest country.

"We feel pleased about the performance in the US and see the brands moving in the right direction," Felipe Dutra, AB InBev's chief financial officer, told reporters.

The Leuven-based group said that so-called normalised profits - before interest, tax, amortization and depreciation - rose 10.6 per cent to $3.98bn.

In the US, AB InBev's largest market, the Belgian group introduced higher-priced products such as Bud Light Platinum and Lime-A-Rita, a move that compensated for the 0.4 per cent decline in sales.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, the revenues grew 9.7 per cent as AB InBev decided to increase prices of its products ahead of a rise in domestic excise taxes that was due to take effect in October.

"These earlier-than-normal price increases in 2012 therefore had a positive impact on our beer revenue per hectolitres growth rate," the group said in a statement.

AB InBev's shares, which have risen about 40 per cent this year - more than double the rise of Stoxx 600, the European food and beverage benchmark index - fell 0.6 per cent after the results were reported.