Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD), the Belgium and Brazilian beer conglomerate and largest beer company in the world after a $50 billion merger in 2008 with American beer legend Budweiser, is a safe place to hide for europhobic investors. Headquartered in Brussels, which also houses the European Union headquarters and is its de facto capital, InBev now gets nearly half of its total $36.3 billion in annual revenue from North America after its purchase of Anheuser-Busch, which brought its eponymous St. Louis-based Budweiser brand into the ownership of the Belgium and Brazilian beer conglomerate.
Compared with its hard alcohol-selling peer Diageo (DEO), which sells Guinness stout, Johnny Walker whiskey and Captain Morgan rum, Anheuser-Busch InBev earns a higher percentage of sales in North America, which through the worst of the multiyear financial crisis has been a haven. Anheuser-Busch InBev earns $15.3 billion in North America, more than 42% of overall global sales, while just over 10% come from Western Europe. Meanwhile, Diageo earns just a third of its near $10 billion in overall sales in the North America, which is only slightly higher than the 26.3% of sales it earns in Europe.
There are risks even in North America, however. On Wednesday, Anheuser-Busch InBev missed its third-quarter revenue estimates because of slowing U.S. and European sales. It's also fallen just over 1% year to date, while Diageo's up nearly 13% in 2011 even as the European debt crisis escalates. Still, if you're concerned that Europe's economy will go into a tailspin, then the King of Beers might better slake your investing palate.
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