* Q1 core profit $3.55 bln vs Reuters poll $3.58 bln
* Q1 volume increase in U.S. is first since Q1 2009
* Says minimum wage increase in Brazil should drive sales
BRUSSELS, April 30 Anheuser-Busch InBev
, the world's largest beer maker, increased sales of
beer in the United States for the first time in three years and
said wage rises should ensure increased consumption in Brazil.
The maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck's said on
Monday that it shipped 1.8 percent more beer and other drinks
overall in the first quarter of 2012 and its core profit
(EBITDA) rose 7.4 percent to $3.55 billion.
That was slightly below the average analyst expectation of
U.S. shipments grew 1.0 percent, aided by mild winter
weather, an extra shipping day, restocking after inventories
were cut at the end of 2011 and deliveries ahead of an earlier
It also launched Bud Light Platinum, a new 6 percent
strength lager, at the end of January, a week before American
football's Super Bowl and spent more on advertising linked to
its sponsorship of the National Football League.
The company also referred to improving economic trends. U.S.
unemployment declined to 8.2 percent in March from 8.5 percent
in December and consumer sentiment improved over the quarter,
although it slipped from a one-year high hit in February.
The company repeated that it expected softer U.S. shipments
in the second quarter due to adjustments of its shipping
In Brazil, its next biggest market, the company said a 7.5
percent increase in the minimum wage should help accelerate
Among its rivals, Dutch brewer Heineken, the
biggest seller in Europe, sold more beer than expected in the
first three months of 2012 and persuaded consumers to switch to
And SABMiller reported a 3 percent rise in beer
volumes in the January-March period as growth in emerging
markets offset declines in Europe and North America.
Carlsberg reports first-quarter earnings on May
9. SABMiller reports full-year earnings to the end of March on
May 24, with its U.S. joint venture MillerCoors providing a
trading update on May 8.