Anheuser-Busch Profit Rises on Cost-Cutting But Misses Estimates

Anheuser-Busch said that quarterly profit rose, helped by cost cutting and higher beer prices. But the results fell short of analysts' expectations.

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The brewer of Budweiser and Bud Light reported net income of $518 million, or 67 cents a share, for the first quarter, compared with $499 million, or 64 cents a share, a year ago.

Analysts on average were expecting 69 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Income before income taxes fell 3.1%, due mostly to lower profits in U.S. and international beer operations and increased interest expense, the company said.

Total net sales for the quarter rose 2.6% to $4.41 billion. Sales by volume, a key measure in the beverage industry, rose to 37.6 million barrels from 36.8 million a year ago.

Revenue per barrel was up 2.3% on pricing increases.

Last year the company made price cuts amid sluggish growth in the U.S. beer market, forcing competitors like Miller Brewing, a unit of SABMiller, to follow suit.

Anheuser-Busch, whose Bud Light is the top-selling beer brand in the United States, controls about half the U.S. beer market.

But Bud Light's dominance is being challenged by imported light beers, such as Heineken Premium Light and Corona Light.