Anheuser-Busch Scores With World Cup

LEUVEN, Belgium ( TheStreet) -- Shares of Anheuser-Busch InBev ( BUD) jumped more than 4% Thursday on higher-than-normal volume after the brewer of Budweiser and Stella Artois beers posted better-than-expected quarterly results.

Anheuser-Busch InBev said good weather and its FIFA World Cup sponsorship helped it book a 7.5% jump in profits to $1.15 billion in the recent quarter, from $1.07 billion in the year-earlier period. Revenue fell 3.4% to $9.17 billion though the figure topped expectations for sales of $8.85 billion.

The merged entity of U.S.-based Anheuser-Busch and Belgian brewer InBev said revenue dipped in the quarter because it divested certain parts of its operations last year, but that organic volume grew by 2.1%, easily surpassing estimates for growth of 1.1%.

Anheuser-Busch InBev shares rose 4.8%, to $53.29. The stock changed hands at rapid speed with nearly 470,000 shares in play ahead of midday, compared with its 30-day trailing average volume of 513,000 shares.

The company said it expects earnings growth to accelerate in the current quarter, and increase further in the fourth quarter, on easier volume comparisons for U.S. sales.

Anheuser-Busch InBev said its sponsorship of the World Cup soccer tournament helped it grow market share in Brazil and boost volume in Latin America by 11.9%. North American volume fell 3.4%. The brewer also launched Budweiser in Russia, which helped the brand's volume offset weakness in North America.
Anheuser-Busch InBev's Stock Rating Report
(BUD) Rating and Financial Analysis

Last month, TheStreet reported that beer titans like Anheuser-Busch Inbev, SAB Miller and Molson Coors Brewing ( TAP) have lost market share to smaller brewers like those operated by Craft Brewers Alliance ( HOOK). During 2009, craft beer shipments increased 7.9%, up from the previous annual growth rate of 5.9%, pointing to an accelerating trend. As a percentage of total beer shipped, Craft crept up from 4% to 4.3% in 2009.

>>Boston Beer Chips Away at Bud, Miller

Craft, a collection of regional breweries including Redhook, Widmer Brothers and Goose Island, hit a fresh 52-week high of $5.76 in trading Wednesday at quadruple its average volume.

"There's no doubt the craft beer industry is a growing sector," said Scott Rothbort, president of Lakeview Asset Management and frequent contributor TheStreet.

>>Craft Brewers Alliance Taps 52-Week High
Craft Brewers

Anheuser-Busch owned 35.6% of Craft, according to an April 9 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer, founders of Widmer Brothers beer, own a combined 18% of Craft shares.

-- Reported by Miriam Marcus Reimer from New York.

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