AB InBev (BUD) posted weaker-than-expected fourth quarter earnings and cut bonuses for its top managers as slowing sales in Brazil hit the bottom line of the world's biggest brewer.
AB InBev said comparable core profits for the year ending in December fell 3.6% to $5.25 billion, missing a Thomson Reuters forecast of $5.58 billion. Brazil's underpeformance, however, was such that the group would have posted a Q4 profit rise of 6.4%, the company said, and full-year beer sales would have been little-changed compared to the 1.4% decline posted for the full-year.
AB InBev shares fell 1.1% in Brussels to change hands at around at €102.55 each, trimming the three month gain to 8.42%.
"A challenging environment in Brazil has put pressure on the consumer and impacted our results," the company said." "Many initiatives, including premiumization and the growth of returnable glass bottles in the off trade, have been well received, but Brazil beer volumes were down, revenues suffered and costs of sales rose compared with FY15 due to devaluation of the Brazilian Real. Excluding Brazil, net revenues increased by 4.0% in FY16."
"We operate with an ownership mindset and believe management incentives must be aligned with shareholders' interests," the company continued. "When we do not meet our objectives, we take responsibility for it. Performance has been disappointing in FY16, and as a result, most of the Executive Board of Management will not receive bonuses this year."
The figures may be offset, however, by a commitment by the company to lift the savings from Anheuser-Busch's takeover of SAB Miller last year by around 14% $2.8 billion over the next three years.