AB InBev advances after earnings amid watering-down claims

theflyonthewall.com

Shares of brewer Anheuser Busch Inbev (BUD) are advancing after the company reported fourth quarter earnings this morning before the market open. AB InBev reported normalized earnings per share of $1.12 against consensus estimates for $1.18. Revenue rose 8.8% to $10.29B against estimates for $10.24B. The company said total volumes declined 0.1% in the quarter, with own beer volumes down 0.3% and non-beer volumes growing 0.8%. However, its "Focus Brands," which include the three global brands Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s, grew by 0.4% during the three month period. Additionally, the company's board proposed a EUR 1.70 dividend to be paid semi-annually with the first payment slated for May 2. The company said that it expects 2013 to be another year of "challenge and uncertainty in the global economic environment," adding that it expects volumes in the U.S. during the first quarter to be negatively impacted by weather and short term pressure on consumer disposable income. The company was also cautious on its first quarter view for Brazil, citing wet weather and the earlier timing of Carnival compared to last year. AB InBev said it expects volume growth in China through 2013, adding that volume in China in the first quarter is showing a recovery from the end of last year. Meanwhile, Time is reporting that the company is may face class action lawsuits in multiple states alleging that the company's beer had less alcohol by volume that was advertised. Shares of AB InBev trading in New York are up $1.58, or 1.72%, to $93.38 this afternoon.

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