Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, reported higher than expected first-quarter earnings on Thursday as consumers bought its beers at sharply higher prices.
The Belgium-based company, which makes around a quarter of all beer drunk globally, said its results confirmed the resilience of the beer market in the face of economic challenges, notably inflation.
The maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona repeated its 2023 forecast that core profit (EBITDA) would grow in line with its medium term outlook of between 4% and 8%, with revenue to grow ahead of EBITDA.
The company's beer sales were 0.4% higher overall in the first quarter than a year ago, though only because of a sharp rise in the Asia-Pacific region as China steadily rolled back its COVID-19 restrictions. Volumes in all other regions dipped.
Revenue, however, rose sharply, as the company pushed through price increases and some consumers switched to more expensive beers or package formats.
First-quarter results of AB InBev's rivals Heineken and Carlsberg also showed consumer willingness to absorb higher prices.
Core Profit Increase
AB InBev's core profit rose by 13.6% on a like-for-like basis to $4.76 billion, compared with the 5.6% average increase expected in a company-compiled poll.
Some analysts said the strong first quarter might have led AB InBev to raise its guidance, but suggested a US conservative backlash against Bud Light over a social media promotion by a transgender influencer could be cause for caution.
Read More: AB InBev Hikes Profit Despite Selling Less Beer
News by Reuters edited by Donna Ahern, Checkout. For more drinks stories click here. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.