BRUSSELS (AP) -- Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world's largest brewer, said Thursday that the World Cup helped push up sales in the second quarter, boosting net profit by 7.5 percent to $1.15 BILLION.
The producer of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck's said results this year beat its own expectations and those of market analysts and will continue to grow through 2010.
Revenue rose 4.1 percent to $9.2 BILLION in the second quarter. The Belgium-based company said beer sales rose 2.0 percent, with soft drinks up 5.5 percent, and that good weather "helped drive volume growth, except in Asia."
AB InBev markets more than 200 beer brands worldwide, including Brahma in Brazil, Jupiler in Belgium and the Netherlands, Quilmes in Argentina, Harbin in China and Budweiser in the U.S.
The company said the World Cup was a boon for Budweiser, its most recognizable brand but one that has been steadily losing market share over the last 20 years.
"Thanks to Budweiser's 2010 FIFA World Cup sponsorship (the brand's) volumes were essentially flat in the first half of 2010," said Anheuser-Busch InBev.
"We are quite pleased by that performance. The brand had been declining for a long period of time," said Felipe Dutra, the chief financial officer, in a telephone news conference.
The company expects profits to keep rising for the rest of the year, helped by a rebound in sales from last year, when key markets worldwide were hit by recession.
AB InBev said it will continue to pay special attention to Budweiser.
Hoping to build on the impact on Budweiser of its World Cup sponsorship, Bud Light will become the official and exclusive beer sponsor of the National Football League, beginning with the 2011 season.
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