AB InBev, the giant maker of beers such as Castle Lager and Budweiser, says the Covid-19 virus outbreak has hit its sales hard.
It lost the equivalent of $ 170, 000 000 worth of sales in China in the first two months, the company estimated on Thursday, and it thinks the earnings impact will be around $ 280 000 000.
AB InBev also happens to own the Corona brand, which has made it the subject of bad jokes around the novel coronavirus.
AB InBev happens to own the Corona beer brand – which seemed to cause some confusion in the early days of the outbreak in January, with searches for terms such as “beer virus” spiking.
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Corona, classed as a “super-premium” brand, saw strong growth in 2019, AB InBev said in full-year results, “with major contributions from markets such as China and South Africa”. In SA, the company recorded its highest-ever market share in the premium beer segment “led by Corona”.
AB InBev believes Corona beer is the number one brand in China’s super-premium segment.
“The outbreak has led to a significant decline in demand in China in both on-premise and in-home channels,” AB InBev told shareholders.
“Additionally, demand during the Chinese New Year was lower than in previous years as it coincided with the beginning of this outbreak.”
It currently estimates the lost revenue at $285 million with lost earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation of $170 million.