BRUSSELS - The world's biggest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, said Thursday the 2014 football World Cup in Brazil was its best ever, boosting sales and profits for the whole year.
The Belgian-Brazilian giant was a major sponsor of the tournament, putting some of its top brands such as its iconic Budweiser beer on show for a global audience.
For the full year, AB InBev's net profit rose 11.7% from 2013 to $8.86 billion as sales increased 5.9% to $47.1 billion, the company said in a statement.
"The Brazil World Cup turned out to be our best yet," it said, with Budweiser the official beer of the competition seeing annual sales rise 5.9% while Corona added 5.8 percent.
A-B InBev sharply hikes dividend, plans $1B share buyback http://t.co/WknN1ApzkY— STLtoday (@stltoday) February 26, 2015
Progress in Brazil helped offset a flat performance in the United States, its other key market where Budweiser beer did not do so well, a problem it plans to tackle this year, the company said.
China stood out, with earnings before tax and depreciation jumping 29 percent but the country -- one of the world's largest beer markets -- remains a relatively small part of the InBev business with sales of just over $700 million.
InBev said it was returning cash to shareholders via a stock buy-back this year worth $1.0 billion.
AB InBev was formed in 2008 by the merger of Belgian-Brazilian group InBev and U.S. brewing giant Anheuser-Busch.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015