Anheuser-Busch Earnings Rise
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Anheuser-Busch Cos. said Wednesday its third-quarter earnings rose 13 percent on strong growth in domestic beer sales.
The maker of Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob and other beers earned $462 million, or 97 cents per share, on sales of $3.22 billion. That was up from earnings of $408 million, or 84 cents per share, on sales of $3.12 billion in the third quarter of 1998.
The results were 2 cents above the average estimate of analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial. But the company’s stock fell $1.50 a share to $67.88 on the New York Stock Exchange.
``Domestic beer industry fundamentals are the best we have seen in this decade,″ chairman August A. Busch III said. ``Improving demographics, high capacity utilization and an improved pricing environment are creating opportunities for margin enhancement and earnings growth.″
Busch said the company expects earnings to be strong again in the fourth quarter.
For the first nine months of the year, Anheuser-Busch reported earnings of $1.21 billion, or $2.53 per share, compared with income of $1.06 billion, or $2.18 per share in 1998. Sales for the nine months were $8.99 billion, up from $8.64 billion in the year earlier period.
Budweiser is the nation’s best-selling beer, and Bud Light is tops among light beers. The company’s domestic market share for the nine months, excluding exports, was 47.2 percent, up from 46.3 percent a year earlier.