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Anheuser posts earnings growth in quarter.

First-quarter net earnings at Anheuser-Busch, the worlds largest brewer, rose 13%, the company's tenth consecutive quarter of double-digit earnings per share growth.

For the quarter ending March 31, 2001, Anheuser-Busch reported net income of $394.4 million, or 43 cents per diluted share. That matched the estimates of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call.

In the same period a year ago, Anheuser-Busch reported net income of $350.3 million, or 38 cents a share.

Sales at the St. Louis-based maker of Budweiser and Michelob beers grew to almost $3.5 billion in the first quarter, up from $3.3 billion a year ago.

At the company's annual meeting in Orlando, chairman August A. Busch III told several hundred shareholders the company's stock would remain strong in 2001.

"Despite the volatility of the market this year, it's comforting to know that your company's stock has performed very well," Busch said. "The outlook for the brewing industry is strong."

Shares of Anheuser-Busch closed at $40.78, up $1.01, on the New York Stock Exchange.

At the annual meeting, shareholders defeated proposals to phase out the use of genetically engineered crops and to require that two candidates be nominated for each opening on the board of directors.

Shareholders also rejected proposals that an independent director, not a former chief executive, be the board's chairman; that only independent directors with no company affiliation serve on the board; and that the company not be allowed to adopt a shareholders right plan, known as a "poison pill," that is used to protect the company from a takeover. The company had opposed the shareholder proposals.

Shareholders also approved the renewal of a stock incentive plan for workers and the re-election of five directors to the board: chairman August A. Busch III; Carlos Fernandez; James R Jones Andrew C. Taylor; and Douglas A. Warner III.
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Title Annotation:Anheuser-Busch
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 7, 2001
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