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Photographer: Kyle Lam/Bloomberg

AB InBev Sells More Beer Than Expected

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AB InBev Sells More Beer Than Expected

  • AB InBev shares surge after company reports sales gain in June
  • Beer giant says online investments helped mitigate lockdown
Budweiser Brewing Company APAC Ltd. Trading Debut As AB InBev's Asia Unit Rises in World's Second-Biggest IPO of 2019
Photographer: Kyle Lam/Bloomberg

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV returned to growth early in the summer as lockdowns that shut bars and restaurants eased, showing that the worst effects of the pandemic may be over for Big Beer.

The Budweiser brewer’s volumes advanced 0.7% in June after crashing by about a third in April, a sign that demand for beer is slowly picking up again. Overall sales in the latest quarter totaled $10.3 billion, above analysts’ estimate of $9.5 billion.

AB InBev shares rose as much as 11% in early trading in Brussels, the most in four months. They’ve fallen about 28% so far this year.

The quarterly performance was “rather a triumph,” given the earlier plunge in volume, RBC analyst James Edwardes Jones said in a note.

The world’s largest beermakers are facing their toughest business conditions in recent memory, with rival Heineken NV reporting earlier this month that its first-half earnings fell by more than half. The brewers have had to contend with months of global bar and brewery shutdowns that stripped them of a crucial revenue stream.

AB InBev said some of its investments in e-commerce, which includes websites such as, helped offset the worst of the lockdown impact.

A revenue decline for the company’s subsidiary in Asia eased in the second quarter as China, by far its largest market in the region, rebounded.

AB InBev recorded a $2.5 billion noncash goodwill impairment charge for its Africa business related to the effects of the pandemic, with several of its breweries on the continent unable to produce or sell beer there.

— With assistance by Albertina Torsoli

(Updates with analyst comment in fourth paragraph)