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Beer giant AB InBev toasts best volume sales in five years

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Beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev said Thursday that profits rose in the second quarter as it achieved its best volume sales performance in five years.

The Belgian-Brazilian group, which owns some 500 beer brands including Budweiser, Stella Artois, and Corona, said in a statement that its bottom-line net profit rose by 14 percent to $2.47 billion in the period from April to June.

While revenues were stable at $13.96 billion, sales volumes grew by 2.1 percent, “driven by strong performances in many of our key markets including Mexico, Brazil, Europe, South Africa, Nigeria, Australia, and Colombia,” the statement said.

“In the second quarter of 2019, we achieved our best volume performance in more than five years, contributing to a strong top line and (operating) performance,” AB InBev said.

The beverages group, which acquired its nearest rival SABMiller in 2016, said its decision to focus on premium brands was paying off.

“Premiumization remains a significant opportunity and a critical component of our strategy to deliver sustainable top and bottom-line growth,” the group said.

“We continue to lead the way globally with our unparalleled portfolio of premium brands.”

Nevertheless, the purchase of SABMiller has left AB InBev with a lasting hangover – $104.2 billion in debt, which forced the brewer to announce the sale of its Australian activities last week to Japanese group Asahi Holdings for $11.3 billion.

“We expect to deliver further progress on our deleveraging path by the end of 2019,” AB InBev said.

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