For a discussion of some of the risks and important factors that could affect the firm’s future results, see Risk Factors in the company’s latest Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 13, 2012. AB InBev assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information provided during the conference call and shall not be liable for any action taken in reliance upon such information.
It is now my pleasure to turn the floor over to Mr. Carlos Brito. Sir, you may now begin.
Carlos Alves de Brito
Thank you, Jackie. Good morning, everybody. Today, AB InBev reported its second quarter results.Total revenue for the second quarter grew by 4.7%, driven by revenue per hectoliter quarter growth of 6.4% on a constant geographic basis. Volumes in the quarter were soft, primarily driven by the U.S. as a result of the adjustments to shipping patterns which reflect in the first quarter. These adjustments, which were designed to ensure a smoother and more cost-efficient phasing of deliveries to our wholesalers, led to a 2.1% decline in shipments to wholesalers or STWs. However, the underlying health of our U.S. business is good, with sales to retailers, STRs, closing the half year ahead by a positive 0.2%. Company-wide volumes of our focused brands grew by 1%, with our 3 global brands growing ahead of this rate at 2%. EBITDA grew by 2.5%, and EBITDA margin declined by 80 basis points to 36.4%. EBITDA performance was impacted in the quarter by the anticipated decrease in shipments to wholesalers in the U.S. and increase in distribution expenses in the U.S. related to the very successful rollout of our innovations as well as higher overall transportation cost in both Brazil and the U.S. We also face some difficult comparables in administrative expenses related to variable compensation accruals and the timing of certain expenses year-over-year. Year-to-date, EBITDA grew by 4.9% compared to the first 6 months of last year. Finally, our earnings per share grew by 22% in the quarter to $1.22 on a normalized basis. So a challenging quarter in terms of EBITDA, as we expected, but we're confident of a stronger second half.