BRUSSELS — Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, upgraded its forecast for 2021 earnings growth on Thursday after posting a surprise increase in third-quarter profit, buoyed by beer sales in Brazil.
The Belgium-based maker of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois said it expects core profit or EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) to grow between 10% and 12% in 2021, compared with an 8%-12% growth forecast earlier.
Some analysts had raised concerns about A-B InBev even meeting its original guidance. Broker Nomura noted the new guidance was the brewer’s first upgrade in several years after it outperformed expectations in every region in the third quarter.
A-B InBev said core profit rose 3.0% on a like-for-like basis in the July-Sept period, against an expected 2.3% drop, according to a company-compiled poll.
It said revenue grew 15.3% in Brazil as consumers drank more and purchased higher-priced beers.
Revenue and profits were also higher in Colombia and South Africa, reflecting easing of COVID-19 restrictions, and in Europe as vaccination rates increased.
However, they declined in the United States, where there were supply chain disruptions, as well as in Mexico, a year on from post-lockdown inventory replenishment, and in China, where COVID-19 restrictions disproportionately hit its key regions.