Frothy beer sales but earnings flat at AB InBev

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Brussels (AFP)

Belgian-Brazilian beer behemoth AB InBev said Wednesday that sales rose of its top brands Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona in the first three months of the year but net earnings came in flat after a higher tax bill.

"Our global brands continued to deliver solid results, with revenue growth of 7.9 percent globally and 12.2 percent outside of their respective home markets," said the firm, noting that these brands typically command a premium when sold abroad.

Overall sales rose 4.7 percent to $13.1 billion, and revenue per litre sold also rose, helping operating profits as measured by EBITDA rise 6.6 percent to just under $5.0 billion.

However, net earnings dipped one percent from the same period last year to $1.44 billion, with the firm's US tax bill jumping by more than 50 percent to $673 million, which the brewer said was linked to having to readjust the value of certain hedges and the timing of several deductions.

"Coming into the second quarter, we are looking forward to the opportunities presented by the FIFA World Cup, with Budweiser acting as a global sponsor," AB InBev said.

Shares in AB InBev jumped 3.0 percent in opening trading on the Brussels stock exchange./bmm