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InBev Profit In Line, Revenue Below Expectations

Belgian brewer InBev, reported second-quarter earnings on Thursday in line with expectations despite high commodity costs, and reiterated that it expects a better second-half of 2008.

The beer maker said EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) was 1.24 billion euros, compared with a Reuters poll of 12 analysts which forecast the same figure. EBITDA in the first quarter was 982 million euros. In the second quarter last year EBITDA was 1.23 billion euros.

Q2 revenue rose to 3.710 billion euros from 3.198 billion euros in the first quarter, but less than the 3.82 billion euros analysts had expected.

InBev, whose key international brands include Stella Artois, Beck's and Brahma, reiterated that it expects EBITDA margins to widen in the second half of the year due to "top line growth and disciplined cost management."

"We recognise that in 2008 there will be greater challenges to overcome than there have been over the past three years," Inbev said in its statement. "However, we are confident ... that we will deliver EBITDA margin expansion in the second half of 2008."

The group repeated its $52 billion takeover of U.S. rival Anheuser-Busch remained on track to be completed by the end of this year.

"In light of the limited overlap between the InBev and Anheuser-Busch businesses, the combination is not anticipated to encounter any significant regulatory issues," Inbev said.