Brewer AB InBev scraps shareholder payout despite jump in beer sales

The world’s largest brewer AB InBev has posted lower quarterly profits and scrapped its shareholder payout despite seeing a jump in beer sales.

The Budweiser and Stella Artois maker said the shift away from bars and pubs towards home-drinking weighed on profitability during the quarter to September.

It told investors it expects trading in the second half of the year to be better than the first, but stressed it is prepared for considerable uncertainty in the coming months.

On Wednesday, rival Heineken said it will slash its office staff costs after being impacted by cost rises through the pandemic.

AB InBev revealed strong beer sales in supermarkets and other retail stores helped drive a 4% jump in revenues, performing significantly better than analyst predictions of a 4% decline.

Total beer volumes grew by 2.6% over the period as it was boosted by strong sales in its core global brands, Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona.

It said earnings for the quarter nevertheless fell by 0.8% to 4.8 billion US dollars (£3.7 billion).

Carlos Brito, chief executive of the company, said: “Our third quarter results reflect our fundamental strengths as the world’s leading brewer and the resilience of the global beer category.

“We delivered a strong and balanced top-line performance by quickly adapting to meet the evolving needs of our customers and our consumers.

“In an ongoing volatile and uncertain environment, we remain focused on being part of the solution by prioritising the health and wellbeing of our people, communities and customers.”