In a full-year update today (2 March), the beer behemoth described the year as “difficult”, despite areas of healthy growth.
Its synergy and cost saving expectations for the integration of the SABMiller estate – agreed last year – were revised up from $2.5bn to $2.8bn.
Global revenue up
Global revenue grew by 2.4% for the whole of 2016 and by 0.2% in the final quarter.
Revenue per hectolitre rose by 4.5%, but total volumes declined by 2% over the year, with own-beer sales volumes down 1.4%.
Business unit president for ABI North Europe Jason Warner said: “Stella Artois was once again the number one beer brand in the country, with sales far exceeding any other beer brand, following another successful year of partnership with Wimbledon and a premium new Christmas campaign.
“Budweiser was the biggest contributor to sales growth in the beer category at +15.6% year-on-year following a strong year of disruptive marketing campaigns, including ‘Free Bud for Wales’ and its ‘Get Home Safe’ Christmas tie-up with Uber.”
Corona’s sales grew by 33.3%, making it the second biggest beer brand in the UK for 2016 and the second biggest contributor to category growth, he added.
‘Corona’s monumental success’
“Corona’s monumental success was driven by the strength of its ‘This is Living’ platform and a fantastic summer with the launch of Corona’s first SunSets Festivals in London,” said Warner.
Meanwhile, ABI’s buyout of Camden Town Brewery was described by the brewery’s founder and CEO as a great opportunity for the business in an interview with The Morning Advertiser.
Jasper Cuppaidge, who faced criticism from beer fanatics when he sold to ABI in 2015, also exclusively revealed his plans to partner with brewers in ABI’s portfolio, along with London-based independent brewers.