BRUSSELS, April 26 Anheuser-Busch InBev
, the world's largest brewer, remains convinced about
the potential of the Brazilian consumer market despite declining
beer sales over the past two years and a particularly tough
The Belgium-based company has suffered successive years of
declining beer volumes in Brazil, with the price it earned per
litre also dropping in 2016 as disposable incomes fell and the
unemployment rate reached its highest level since 1995.
The company's volumes in its second-largest market last
increased in 2014, when Brazil hosted the soccer World Cup.
"It can be very deceiving," Chief Executive Carlos Brito
told a news conference after a meeting of the company's
shareholders on Wednesday.
"When we look at Brazil on a long-term view those two bad
years don't change our view in terms of the fundamentals and the
pillars that Brazil will continue to be an amazing market for
consumer goods companies and beer," he added.
AB InBev, which paid around $100 billion to take over its
nearest rival SABMiller last year, in 2016 suffered its first
decline in core earnings since its formation over a decade ago
as recession-hit Brazil depressed beer sales by even more than
Brito said positive factors included population growth and a
young demographic, the fact that some regions still had room to
catch up, the willingness of consumers to buy higher-priced
premium brands and the improved attractiveness of Brazil to
The AB InBev chief said that the two lean years did not
break the overall upward trend for Brazil.
"It's just like many markets not a straight line. Sometimes
you have one or two bad years and those fundamentals kick in
again... We don't panic with one or two bad years because we
always have our eye on the long term."
The maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona will report
its first-quarter results on May 4.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Keith Weir)