AB InBev has renewed its case for purchasing rival SABMiller as it announced its global fourth quarter and full year 2015 results this morning, confirming the deal was still on-track.
The brewing giant – whose brands include Stella Artois, Budweiser and Corona – said the deal would particularly help strengthen its position in emerging markets including Asia, Central and South America and Africa. It is expected to complete in the second half of 2016.
Announcing its global results for the 2015 financial year, the brewer said revenues were up 7% in the fourth quarter to $12bn (£8.6bn), and up 6.3% for the full year. Revenue per hl grew by 7.7% for the year, and by 8.6% in the fourth quarter, driven by strong premium brand volumes. Earnings rose 6.6% to $4.3bn (£3.1bn). Full year EBITDA climbed 7.8% to $16.8bn (£12bn). However, profits fell slightly from $8.87bn in 2014 to $8.51bn (£6.1bn) for 2015.
In the UK, AB InBev said its products had grown 'mid-single digits' during 2015, driven by strong performance from Stella Artois and Corona activations. Across Europe beer volumes were down approximately 2% in 2015, but up almost 3% in Western Europe. Net revenue in Europe grew by 4.6% for the year.
Jason Warner, northern Europe president for AB InBev said: 'We are very pleased with AB InBev UK’s 2015 performance. This was driven by the continued strong performance of our global brands, with Stella Artois the number one premium lager brand in the UK off-trade, Budweiser number two, and Corona the biggest contributor to category growth in the UK.
'Stella Artois’ standout performance was driven by the brand’s role as official beer and cider of The Open Championship and Wimbledon, as well as its social responsibility campaign Buy a Lady a Drink, that we are excited to continue in 2016. As a key market for AB InBev, where all three of our company’s global beer brands are present and performing well, we are excited for 2016 as we continue to invest and innovate, providing ongoing value for our customers and consumers.'
On the new partnership with SABMiller, the company had said at the moment of the deal: 'Our joint portfolio of complementary global and local brands would provide more choices for beer drinkers in new and existing markets around the world. The combination would strengthen our position in emerging regions with strong growth prospects, such as Asia, Central and South America and Africa.
'In particular, we are very excited about the prospects of making a significant investment and commitment to the African continent. We admire SABMiller’s commitment to a number of important issues such as local economic development, supporting entrepreneurship, regional farming, limiting the environmental impact of our industry and, of course, promoting responsible consumption.'
'We believe that a combination of our two companies would build the first truly global brewer and that this transaction would be in the best interests of both companies' consumers, shareholders, employees, wholesalers, business partners and the communities we serve.'