* Revenue, costs to rise around 'high single-digit' levels
* Sees capital expenditure at around 3 bln reais this year
* Plans to ramp up production of Budweiser brand in Brazil
SAO PAULO, Feb 27 Cia de Bebidas das Americas
SA, Latin America's largest brewer, said on Wednesday that costs
could rise faster than revenue this year because of more
expensive raw materials, a weaker currency and rising taxes.
The company, also know as Ambev, said in its
quarterly earnings report that net revenue per hectoliter is
expected to grow in the high single digits in percentage terms
on price increases last year and a focus on direct distribution
of premium beer brands.
Ambev will ramp up output capacity in Brazil to boost sales
of Budweiser beer ahead of the soccer World Cup next year.
Still, the cost of goods sold per hectoliter could grow in
the high single digits to low double digits due to a rise in
taxes on alcoholic beverages, a weakening currency and an
across-the-board rise in the cost of raw materials, it said.
Fourth-quarter profit surged 22.7 percent from a year
earlier as higher sales volumes and beer prices helped offset
rising costs. Net income totaled 3.72 billion reais ($1.88
billion), beating the analysts' average estimate of 3.6 billion,
according to a Thomson Reuters poll.
"The Brazilian operating result underscored almost flawless
execution of an unprecedented steep tax-related beer price
increase, as market share loss was minimized and margin
expansion was maximized," Citigroup Global Markets analyst Alex
Robarts wrote in a client note.
Ambev is part of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, the
world's biggest brewer. The parent company forecast a weak start
to the year in its two largest markets, the United States and
Brazil, where a wet Southern Hemisphere summer and an early
Carnival period could be translated into slower sales growth.
Capital expenditures are likely to reach 3 billion reais in
2013, roughly the same level of last year, it said.