BRUSSELS (Reuters) - InBev NV’s core profit growth is seen slowing year-on-year in the second quarter amid rising costs and tough comparisons with 2007, as investors focus on the impact of the recent Anheuser-Busch (BUD.N) takeover.
The Belgium-based brewer is expected to report a 0.8 percent rise in EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) to 1.24 billion euros from 1.23 billion, according to a Reuters poll of 12 analysts.
The company, which has described 2008 as more challenging than the previous three years, presented disappointing first-quarter figures in May.
First-quarter EBITDA rose a modest 0.7 percent to 982 million in the first quarter of 2008, falling short of analysts’ estimates.
Chief Executive Carlos Brito nevertheless expects EBITDA margins will rise in the second-half, fuelled by further cost cutting.
InBev, whose key international brands are Stella Artois, Beck’s and Brahma, has had to cope with higher input costs, such as for barley.
Last year, it was overtaken by SABMiller Plc SAB.L as the world’s largest brewer by volume and it faces tough competition from rivals Heineken NV (HEIN.AS) and Carlsberg A/S Carb.CO after they divided up Scottish & Newcastle in a 7.8 billion pound ($15.5 billion) takeover.
Investors will be looking out for news surrounding Inbev’s $52 billion acquisition of Anheuser-Busch, which is expected to close by the end of 2008.
The acquisition is yet to be approved by regulators or shareholders and dates for shareholders’ meetings have not yet been set.
Analysts are upbeat on the deal, which they say offers important strategic benefits.
“Anheuser-Inbev offers good earnings momentum and a good financial picture for Inbev shareholders combined with a strong strategic rationale,” Rabo Securities’ analysts Karel Zoete and Patrick Roquas said in a note to clients Monday.
The following is a summary of estimates of 12 analysts (figures in millions of euros, except EPS in euros:
Reporting by Antonia van de Velde and Tineke van der Struik; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien