Anheuser-Busch InBev set to reap Corona shortage, World Cup benefits

The ongoing shortage of Corona around the world may actually prove beneficial for Anheuser-Busch InBev in the US. Throw in the FIFA World Cup, which starts this month, and the brewing behemoth could be in line for a bumper 2014.

A-B InBev has warned of a shortage of stock in the UK for its Mexican beer brand, Corona. Similar reports are coming out of the US, where Corona is produced and owned by Constellation Brands. Retailers in Florida are struggling to secure stocks of Corona, according to Beer Business Daily.

In the US, this turn of affairs could play into A-B InBev's hands: The poor availability of Corona in the country will slow Constellation's growth there, while A-B InBev looks like it is firming the pricing of its brands. A note from analysts at CLSA this week flagged that the brewer is raising its prices in Florida by US$0.50, a $0.10 mark-up on Constellation's $0.40 price rise in the state.

Beyond this, A-B InBev is expected to enjoy a good summer. "With improving sales in key markets and an impressive marketing campaign surrounding the World Cup, we see A-B InBev gaining strength across the globe," says Caroline Levy at CLSA. "We expect sales in Brazil to be less constrained as the Real recovers from its lows. And in the US, Bud and Bud Light continue to improve and we expect total market share to stabilise."

In raising her EPS forecast by $0.01 for 2014 and by $0.03 for 2015, Levy says: "The global mogul in beer is firing on all cylinders right before the biggest sporting event of the year."

An upturn in both the US and Brazil would be a welcome turn of events for the brewer, as it has struggled in the regions of late. In its last set of full-year results, sales in the US fell by 3%, while in Brazil volumes slipped by 4%.

And, should you ask, the reason why the two countries are so important to a global brewer like A-B InBev? Well, according to Levy, the US accounts for 43% of group profits, while Brazil represents around 35%.

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