AB InBev targets World Cup revenue growth

09 May, 2018

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer is ramping up its spending on marketing initiatives ahead of the soccer World Cup this summer, as strong demand in Europe, Mexico and China buoyed earnings in the first quarter.

AB InBev NV’s earnings growth of 6.6% surpassed analyst estimates, buoyed by the performance of some brands in new markets, such as Bud Light’s debut in the UK. 

The earlier timing of the Chinese Lunar New Year also drove demand and the company said it had cost savings of $160m related to its purchase of SABMiller Plc in the first quarter.

Budweiser’s campaign for the World Cup, the most-watched sporting event globally, began this week. The initiative comes as AB InBev works to drive more revenue from sporting events and social occasions after the past decade’s influx of smaller brands weaned drinkers off its mass-market brews. 

To address that challenge, the Belgium-based company is investing $2bn in promoting its brands and improving their supply chains in the US.

This year’s World Cup is held in Russia, a market dominated by Carlsberg A/S. The Danish brewer said last week the Russian market shrank by about 5% in the first quarter, hurt by restrictions on bottling and the threat of international sanctions on the country’s economy.

AB InBev’s shares have lost about a quarter of their value since the Leuven-based company acquired SABMiller Plc in 2016 in the industry’s largest-ever deal.

Keywords: world cup, ab inbev

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