Brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev posts Q3 sales above expectations

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Brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev posts Q3 sales above expectations © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Cans of AB InBev’s Bud Light hard seltzer are displayed in a fridge in Jewel-Osco supermarket in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. October 21, 2020. Picture taken October 21, 2020. REUTERS/Richa Naidu/File Photo

(Reuters) – The world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, on Tuesday reported third-quarter sales growth that was slightly better than expected, as pricing boosted revenue and helped offset lower volumes of beer sold.

AB InBev also announced a $1 billion share buy back and said it would offer to buy back bonds worth $3 billion, as it looks to further cut a debt pile built up over years of blockbuster acquisitions.

Sales grew 5% in the quarter to $15.57 billion, while analysts in a company-provided consensus had, on average, expected growth of 4.7%.

Although revenue grew in about 80% of its markets, it dropped 13.5% in the United States, dragged, in part, by declining volumes of Bud Light beer.

AB Inbev’s Bud Light has lost its top spot among U.S. consumers recently after a conservatives backlash over a social media promotional campaign with Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender influencer.

Total volumes dropped 3.4%, the company said in a statement, adding that sales per hectoliter were up, thanks to pricing.

Brewers have been hiking prices of their beer amid rapid cost inflation, but that has so far not impacted drinkers’ demand.

Still, Heineken (AS:), the world’s second-largest brewer warned last week that tough economic conditions in some markets could hurt beer volumes next year.

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