The world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), which recently warned that reduced beer sales in China would hit its first-quarter performance, has withdrawn its guidance of up to 5% core profit growth in its 2020 year due to the spread of the virus across the globe.

The group had said in February that it expected to a 10% drop in earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) in its first quarter to end-March, saying at the time it expected 2020 core profit growth of between 2% and 5%.

Ebitda is a measure of the profitability of the operations of a business, excluding items related to how the group is financially structured.

“We are living in extraordinary times,” said CEO Carlos Brito.

“The Covid-19 pandemic represents unprecedented challenges for societies, governments and businesses across the world,” he said.
AB InBev said it was producing hand sanitiser and disinfectants, and also bottling emergency relief water.

In morning trade on Tuesday, AB InBev’s share price was up 0.8% to R75.99, having lost almost a third of its value so far in 2020.

Over the same time period, the JSE has lost 30.86%.