Anheuser-Busch Inbev (BUD) is the world's largest brewer, and one of the top five consumer-products companies. It holds a 49% U.S. beer market share across its 13 brands.
The company is rebounding from the slowdown it experienced along with the economy. Revenue grew by 4.4% in 2010 on only a 2.1% increase in volume, but earnings jumped 28% as it realized cost savings from its acquisition of Anheuser-Busch in 2008.Morningstar analyst Dave Sekera said in a March 3 research note, after reviewing its fiscal 2010 earnings release, that "the firm's scale, brand strength and operating leverage will generate solid long-term shareholder returns." He says the company's sheer scale makes it a formidable competitor. "Thanks to its size, it can outspend, outsell and out-market any beer company in the world," said Sekera. "Its success has been driven by its management team, which has instilled a corporate culture of relentless cost-cutting, a drive to increase shareholder value and a desire to outperform the competition." Morningstar gives the shares a three-star rating out of a possible five and its shares a current fair market value of $58. It's trading at $57 now. Anheuser-Busch Inbev owns four of the world's top 10 beer brands, has the No. 1 or 2 market position in 19 countries, and has a dominant share in several key markets including Brazil (69%), the U.S. (49%) and Canada (42%). Morningstar's review of analysts' ratings found 17 "buy" ratings, seven "outperforms," 11 "holds" and one "underperform." Goldman Sachs upgraded Anheuser-Busch Inbev shares to "buy" from "neutral" on March 9, saying "we believe the market is underestimating the positive impact of a U.S. economic recovery on the company." Shares are little changed this year, but up 13% over the past year, giving it a $90 billion market value.