World: Global brewing groups suffer from COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted half year results of the leading brewing groups which were released in the last days.

In terms of volume, AB InBev, Heineken and Molson Coors lost in the second quarter 17.1%, 11.5% and 11.6% respectively. Organic net sales revenue decreased 17.7%, 16.4% and 15.1%. Carlsberg Group, the fourth major brewing group is releasing its results on August 13 but it is expected to be in line with its competitors.

All groups reported that “top-line performance was materially impacted as multiple countries took far-reaching measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 including restricted movement of populations, outlet closures and mandatory lockdown of production facilities” (Heineken).

This created “unprecedented challenges” (AB InBev & Heineken) in the first half year of 2020 and forces the groups to be “mindful of the challenges and continued uncertainty that lie ahead” (Molson Coors). All three groups “have taken mitigating actions and will further intensify [the] focus on costs” (Heineken), have “reduced discretionary spending, limited new hiring and restricted travel” (Molson Coors) or “have taken significant actions to maintain strong liquidity in a more volatile and uncertain environment” (AB InBev).

While Molson Coors continues “to expect a significant adverse impact to both net sales and profit performance for the third quarter and fiscal year 2020, and, possibly, beyond”, Heineken observes “a gradual recovery since the trough in April across most markets [but] the situation continues to be volatile and uncertain.”

Only AB InBev is confident “in the resilience of the beer category, particularly in the off-premise channel, where we saw healthy growth in both developed and developing markets. The continued reopening of the on-premise channel around the world also contributed to an improved performance, especially in May and June. We are excited about the return of these consumption occasions, while remaining cautious as we are now seeing renewed on-premise restrictions in certain markets. (AB InBev)”

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