UPDATE 2-AB InBev profits from Brazil prices as U.S. sales drop

miércoles 6 de mayo de 2015 05:54 GYT

* Volumes down 1.2 percent, decline of 6 pct in U.S.

* Revenue per litre up by 7.5 pct on price hikes, premium beer

* Q1 core profit (EBITDA) $3.97 bln vs consensus $3.93 bln (Adds more on Brazil, China, shares)

By Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS, May 6 (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, increased first quarter profit by more than expected as it lifted prices and sold more premium lagers in Brazil and China, making up for sharply lower U.S. shipments.

Overall volumes declined by 1.2 percent, principally due to a 6 percent fall in sales to U.S. wholesalers, which had last year built inventories ahead of union negotiations.

However, the company sold more of its higher priced global brands. Volumes of Budweiser, which are now greater outside than inside the United States, rose by 6.2 percent, with particularly strong growth in Brazil and China.

AB InBev shares, which had dropped more than 10 percent since mid-April as the euro rallied, were up 2.8 percent at 107.70 euros at 0900 GMT, making them among the strongest in the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European stocks.

"Most of the beat is due to very strong pricing in Brazil," said Bernstein Research beverage analyst Trevor Stirling, adding the company had also gained in Brazil from incentives to invest, such as building new breweries.   Continuación...