(Adds details, context, company comments)
MOSCOW, March 25 Anheuser-Busch InBev,
the world's largest brewer, is to shut its third Russian plant
in less than two years as increased regulation hurts sales.
Russia has toughened regulation of alcohol sales in order to
curb drinking. In the last two years it has hit the beer market
with tax hikes, a ban on advertising and sales in kiosks.
The market has slumped by more than 25 percent since 2008,
creating excess capacity for most of the market players and
forcing them to shut plants and rethink strategies.
The maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona said on
Tuesday it would shut one of its seven breweries in Russia, in
Perm. That follows the closure of one in Kursk in 2012 and in
Novocheboksarsk in 2013.
"In the context of a general decline in the market due to
increased tax and administrative burden, strengthening
legislative regulation, the company must act and take necessary
measures to maintain its business in Russia," InBev said in a
"These actions are aimed at improving the efficiency of
production, logistics and cost management."
The move comes as Russian consumer sentiment is hit by a
sharp economic slowdown, rising inflation and a falling rouble,
aggravated by the prospect of economic sanctions related to
Russia's seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region.
Inbev's Russian sales fell by 13.6 percent last year amid a
broader market decline and as it switched to more premium brands
- a category least hurt by a ban on sales in kiosks, previously
a major distribution channel.
Inbev said it would redistribute production volumes from
Perm to other plants.
(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Sophie Walker)