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Brazil's Ambev misses estimates as cost pressure bites

SAO PAULO May 4 Ambev SA, the Latin American unit of Anheuser Busch Inbev NV, missed first-quarter profit estimates on Thursday, reflecting rapid growth in costs that offset a decline in financial expenses and higher volumes.

Adjusted net income came in at 2.316 billion reais ($732.1 million), below a consensus estimate of 2.795 billion compiled by Thomson Reuters from analysts. Income fell 20.1 percent from a year earlier, Ambev said in a statement.

The São Paulo-based company said it expects its cost of goods sold per hectoliter to grow in the double-digit region during the first half of this year before stabilizing or narrowing to single-digit rises between July and December.

($1 = 3.1635 reais) (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; editing by Jason Neely)

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