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Bud brewer AB Inbev: 3Q profits rise 20 percent

Toby Sterling, AP Business Writer

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, says its third quarter profits rose on a mix of higher selling prices and cost-cutting, despite lower volumes.

The Leuven, Belgium-based company said Thursday net profit was up 31 percent to $2.37 billion (1.73 billion euros), from $1.81 billion in the same period a year earlier, reflecting the company's $20 billion June purchase of Mexico's Grupo Modelo.

Revenues were up 3.0 percent to $11.6 billion, as sales volumes sank 1.3 percent, but revenue per hectoliter rose 5.7 percent. Among the best performing brands were its flagship Budweiser beer, which grew global sales by 8.1 percent, and Corona, up 3.7 percent.

ABInBev bought the 50 percent of Modelo it didn't already own, and the takeover included rights to sell and market Corona globally — except in the U.S., where ABInBev brands including Bud Light already had a market share of around 50 percent.

"We are not satisfied with our top line performance in 2013, which continues to be impacted by macroeconomic headwinds in a number of our markets," said CFO Felipe Dutra.

However, he said integration of Modelo was going faster than forecast, and the company is already saving $250 million on an annual basis by combining operations.

ABInBev's global brands include U.S. best-seller Bud Light, Germany's Beck's, Belgium's Stella Artois, and Brazil's Brahma.