CCU Slumps in Chile as BofA Says Sell on AmBev Pressure

Cia. Cervecerias Unidas SA, Chile’s biggest brewer, fell the most in nine months after Bank of America Corp. recommended investors dump the shares amid falling beer sales and intensifying competition.

CCU, controlled by Chile’s Luksic family, slumped 4.6 percent to 7,810.8 pesos at the close in Santiago, its biggest fall on a closing basis since Aug. 2. The country’s benchmark Ipsa index advanced 0.7 percent.

Bank of America cut its rating to the equivalent of sell from hold, saying the Santiago-based company’s alcoholic beverage business was disappointing in the first quarter. Brazilian rival Cia. de Bebidas das Americas, also known as AmBev, is likely to push to expand Chilean operations, according to Bank of America.

“We look for AmBev to continue leveraging excess affiliate capacity, cheap shipping and a strong peso to grow its Chilean operations and pressure CCU profitability,” analysts Robert Ford and Melissa Byun wrote in an e-mailed note today.

CCU yesterday reported net income of 40.3 billion pesos ($86 million) in the first quarter, lower than average estimate of 42.6 billion pesos of three analysts in a Bloomberg survey.