World's Biggest Brewer InBev Reports Fat 2009 Profits

Net profits were $4.6 billion.

Anheuser-Busch InBev reported 2009 net profits of $4.613 billion on March 4, following big disposals and cost savings, its accounts showed.

Created in November 2008 when Belgian-Brazilian brewer InBev bought Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion, the company reported net profits of $1.28 billion just for the fourth quarter despite lower full-year sales.

Comparisons are difficult to make because the group incorporated around seven billion dollars' worth of disposals into the accounts, mainly in central Europe and Asia, helping bring net debt down to $45 billion by the end of 2009.

Total volumes for beer fell by 0.7%, but earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization grew by roughly 8% pro rata to $13.037 billion.

Operating expenses fell by 2.5%, with the group reporting an additional $1.1 billion of savings due to synergies following the takeover.

However, volumes brewed also slipped by 1.8%. Anheuser-Busch InBev's flagship beer brands include Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck's.

The beer market has shrunk in traditional territories including North America and western Europe, but Brazilian volumes rose by around 10%.

The company said in January it was to cut 10% of its 8,000-strong workforce across Europe.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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