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AB InBev announces worst annual results in 15 years
Leuven-based AB InBev, the largest brewer in the world, has announced its 2015 results, which are the worst the company has experienced since 2001. It lost 0.2% market share in the face of a home market that shrank by 2.2%.
The brewer, which produces the two main lager brands in the country, Jupiler and Stella Artois, lost 2.5% of volume as the pils market continued to shrink. The other main pils brands – Maes and Cristal from Alken-Maes and Primus from Haacht – are also suffering from the upward trend of lower-volume speciality beers. For AB InBev, that meant 113,000 fewer litres sold in 2015, with a market share down to 55.5%.
Because the company is so huge, the figures are significant. Since a decade ago, when the then InBev held nearly 57% of the Belgian market, the entire market has shrunk by 1.45 million hectolitres. AB InBev alone accounts for 939,000 Hl of that – about two out of every three litres lost.
In terms of sales figures, they were down 7% to €708 million compared to 2014, while profits were down 18.5% to €49.5 million. While that includes exports of brands such as Leffe and Hoegaarden (but not sales of overseas brands) it also shows that the reduction in the company’s figures is all attributable to the changes in the Belgian beer market. Export sales went up 18%, which helped compensate for a home market drop in sales.
The brewer is a sponsor of Euro 2016 and hopes to see a boost in sales of Jupiler. “I really hope the Red Devils do well,” said head of AB InBev Belgium Jean-Jacques Velkeniers. “We really need a good tournament, for Belgium and for AB InBev. That would be the icing on the cake.”
Photo courtesy AB InBev