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Anheuser-Busch posts lower first quarter profit.

Anheuser-Busch said Wednesday that first-quarter earnings dropped 6.7 percent year-over-year due to higher costs and lower beer sales in the United States.

Net income declined to $513 million (euro397 million), or 65 cents per share, from $550 million, or 67 cents per share, year ago. Excluding a gain on the sale of Spanish theme park, the company earned 63 cents per share in the latest quarter.

Total sales increased 2.5 percent to $3.56 billion (euro2.76 billion) from $3.48 billion last year, driven primarily by a 29 percent increase in international beer segment net sales due to the Harbin acquisition, higher entertainment segment sales and increased commodity-based sales from packaging operations.

Anheuser-Busch shares rose 41 cents to close at $46.96 in Wednesday trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $44.85 to $54.74.

Domestic beer segment sales decreased 1.3 percent due to lower beer sales volume, which was partially offset by higher revenue per barrel.

Worldwide Anheuser-Busch beer sales volume for the first quarter 2005 rose 6.6 percent, to 28.8 million barrels, from the first quarter of 2004.

"Anheuser-Busch had a challenging first quarter in its domestic beer business," said Patrick Stokes, president and CEO. "The domestic beer industry and Anheuser-Busch experienced volume declines and higher commodity cost pressures."

In its report, Anheuser-Busch said that it has plans to drive beer volume growth, including the introduction of new products like Budweiser Select, new packaging, increased domestic marketing, on-premise sales initiatives and price promotions.
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 2, 2005
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