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.
Our global brands of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck's grew collectively by 2% in the quarter. Global Budweiser trends remain strong. Volume is growing by 5.2% in the quarter and 6.2% year-to-date. Budweiser brand health in the U.S. continues to improve, and we saw a strong performance, as in most of our key markets around the world. This includes a double-digit volume growth in China and Russia; solid execution behind the FA Cup sponsorship in the U.K., which helped the brand to gain share in the first half; and a good reception for the brand when it was launched in Ukraine in April. In Brazil, Budweiser continues to exceed expectations after its launch in August last year and has played an important role in our premium brand portfolio strategy.Stella Artois global volumes came under pressure in the first quarter, declining by 3.5% due to weak weather-driven U.K. industry and competitive off-trade pressure as well as softer shipments in the U.S. due to the shipping pattern adjustments I mentioned earlier. However, the underlying performance in the U.S. continues to be strong, with STRs growing by 18% in the quarter. We also saw volume growth in Argentina, Brazil and Russia. We continue to see good growth from Stella Artois Cidre in the U.K., up 20% in the quarter. Beck's volumes declined in the quarter as a result of a weak German industry, though we grew share in that market. Turning now to our top 3 markets and firstly, the U.S. We're encouraged by industry trends, with the first 6 months of the year seeing the best industry performance since 2008. As you know, the first quarter was helped by favorable weather and an improving economy, and the momentum continued into the second quarter with our innovations being a key driver. We estimate that industry's selling day adjusted STRs grew by 0.4% in the quarter and by 0.8% year-to-date, and the positive industry trend appears to have carried through into July based on ROI data for the 2 weeks ending July 15. Our own selling day adjusted STRs in the quarter were marginally down at minus 0.2% but ahead by plus 0.2% for the half year with market share trends continuing to improve. We estimate share was down 30 basis points in the quarter and 25 basis points in the half year. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com