Anheuser-Busch InBev took a moderate hit in the second quarter but performed above expectations.
- InBev released its second-quarter earnings call on Thursday morning, reporting mixed earnings due to the ongoing Bud Light protests.
- Core profit increased 5% year-over-year, revenue increased 7.2%, and the company predicted an 8% profit growth in 2023.
- A significant 1.4% drop in sales volumes offset revenues, resulting in a $290 million shortfall and a 10.5% decrease in U.S. revenues.
- The company’s stock valuation briefly surged Thursday morning after the announcement, currently sitting at a 0.9% increase since the market opened.
Why It’s Important
On April 1, transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney released a cross-promotional Instagram video with Bud Light. Subsequently, an interview with Bud Light Vice President of Marketing Alissa Heinerscheid revealed that she was attempting to shift the brand away from its “fratboy” image toward a new audience of young progressive beer drinkers. Within two weeks, Bud Light’s sales precipitously dropped and have continued to do so, with retail sales dropping as much as 42% in some markets.
As Thursday’s report shows, InBev successfully offset these decreases by mostly passing along the costs to customers through price hikes despite lower sales. It did not specifically mention the ongoing Bud Light protests in the earnings call.
Analysts noted that this should be good news for InBev’s shareholders, with Morgan Stanley analysts noting that the forecast “should provide relief to investors who have been waiting on the sidelines to see if the Bud Light situation would drive a reset of expectations.” RBC Capital Markets analysts similarly praised the company’s “impressive demonstration” of “resilience and diversification,” saying, “ We believe that the share price has overreacted to the Bud Light situation.” However, some analysts have noted that the full impact of the boycott may not be felt till the third quarter report.
Speaking on Monday’s episode of CNBC’s Squawk Box Europe, Heineken CEO Dolf van den Brink spoke about his own manufacturer’s earnings report, warning, “You have to be thoughtful, you have to be balanced. And at the same time, you need to stand for your values and your principles.”
As we previously reported, Bud Light recently laid off hundreds of corporate employees in its marketing staff. The boycotts recently entered their fourth month, leaving many marketing experts confused about the resilience of the protests. The company’s marketing executive Marcel Marcondes addressed the issue recently and admitted that it needed to be more careful with its advertising.