AB Inbev reports 32% sales decline in April

07 May, 2020

AB Inbev has warned that Q2 trading will be “materially worse” than the previous three months due to brewery closures and supply chain disruption.

The Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona producer reported a 9.3% decline in year-on-year volume sales during the three months to March 31, 2020. It said that sales were down by 32% in April, which will lead to a substantial decline in Q2 sales.

The Belgium-based brewer has already scrapped its 2020 guidance as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Brewery operations have been severely restricted in Mexico, Peru, South Africa and India

First quarter EBITDA was down 13.7% to $3.95 billion for the debt-laden company.

However, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel. Year-on-year volumes declined 46.5% in China during Q1, but AB Inbev said they were just 17% lower in April. The on-trade began to reopen in China during April and the lockdown was eased. South Korea is also starting to recover.

“While some channels, such as nightlife, have been more impacted than others, we are seeing steady re-openings of many of our customers since mid-March and our volume trends are improving sequentially,” said the brewer. “Our diverse geographic footprint allows us to apply best practices from our experiences in China and

South Korea to the rest of our markets, as they move through different stages of the crisis and into eventual recovery.”

AB Inbev’s largest market is the US. Sales there grew by 1.9% during Q1, but it lost market share due to the soaring popularity of hard seltzer. It has responded by launching Bud Light Seltzer. Revenue in Brazil – another important market – decreased by 10%, with beer volumes down by 11.8% during the quarter.

The brewer said it grew market share in the UK, where Stella Artois, Budweiser, Corona and Bud Light all performed well in the off-trade.

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