UPDATE 2-AB InBev profit capped by weak U.S., Brazil recession

viernes 31 de octubre de 2014 06:48 GYT

* Q3 core profit $4.75 bln vs $5 bln Reuters poll average

* U.S. weaker, Brazil stagnant, limited cost savings in Mexico

* Large shift in China to higher-margin lagers

* Shares down 0.9 pct, weakest in sector (Adds background, shares, analyst comment)

By Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest beer maker, increased earnings by less than expected in the third quarter as U.S. consumers drank less, Brazil fell into recession and Mexican cost savings dropped sharply.

The maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona has coped with past sales falls by raising prices and selling more premium beers, but the strategy had limited impact in the United States and Brazil in the three months to Sept. 30, depressing earnings in its two largest markets. Overall volumes dropped 2.7 percent.

The brewer's shares were down 0.9 percent at 86.40 euros by 1030 GMT, making them the worst performer on the STOXX European food and beverage index and among the weakest of all European blue chips.

"I'm not too sure about the fourth quarter either. I think that could be quite tough," said Societe Generale beverage analyst Andrew Holland, who recently upgraded the stock to "hold" in the expectation of strengthening U.S. wage growth.   Continuación...