The world’s largest brewer on Friday downgraded its annual earnings outlook after weak sales in China and the United States hurt profit growth in the third quarter.
The brewer of Budweiser and Stella Artois said in its earnings statement that listing its Asia Pacific business in Hong Kong provided a platform for buying opportunities, and that the unit was “positioned to expand across the fastest growing markets in the region.”
Anheuser-Busch InBev said lackluster sales in China and the United States had offset growth in Mexico, South Africa and Colombia. Price increases in South Korea also hurt sales and would be rolled back, the company said.
The brewer pledged to keep prices low in emerging markets, even though doing so had reduced the value of its sales. “We believe a smart affordability strategy is a vital component to reaching new consumers and introducing beer to new occasions,” it said.
In the United States, Anheuser-Busch InBev lost out on booming demand for hard seltzer, or carbonated alcoholic drinks that come in cans. The company said it planned to expand in this category.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, which had debt of $102.5 billion in 2018 after buying rival SABMiller, was forced to cut its dividend in half last year to steady its balance sheet.
– Sherisse Pham contributed to this report.