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Anheuser-Busch posts record volume in '02.

August Busch IV reports that Anheuser-Busch, Inc. achieved record U.S. beer sales volume in 2002. "We are extremely pleased to report that our domestic beer shipments to wholesalers grew to an all-time high of 101.8 million barrels in 2002--increasing 2.1 million barrels or 2.1 percent over 2001," said Busch.

"For the first time, total domestic shipments exceeded the 100 million barrel milestone," Busch said. "This record achievement, led by the Bud family and the successful introductions of Michelob Ultra and Bacardi Silver, reflects the hard work and dedication by all of our employees and wholesaler partners across the country."

Wholesaler sales-to-retailers grew 1.6 percent for the full year and declined 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter. A-B execs said sales-to-retailers volume in the fourth quarter 2002 reflected a difficult comparison to fourth quarter 2001 sales that were up five percent due to unseasonably warm weather and the resumption of consumer activity after the September II tragedy. The company said fourth quarter 2002 sales-to-retailers represented a 2.3 percent compound annual growth rate from fourth quarter 2000.

Fourth quarter beer shipments by Anheuser-Busch to wholesalers grew 2.3 percent, and the company said wholesaler inventories at year-end were essentially the same as last year.

Anheuser-Busch said it will announce worldwide beer volume and consolidated earnings results for the fourth quarter and full year 2002 on February 5, 2003. Consistent with statements in the third quarter earnings release, the company continues to expect 14 percent earnings per share growth for 2002 and 18.5 percent earnings per share growth for the fourth quarter. The company has set an initial earnings per share growth target of 12 percent for 2003.

"Each year provides new challenges," Busch said. "But we are confident that having the highest quality and freshest beers in the industry, combined with exceptional marketing, solid sales execution and a favorable pricing environment, will result in another excellent year for AnheuserBusch in 2003."
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 20, 2003
Words:327
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