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Bud Light continues to weigh on AB InBev results, but revenue climbs

Bud Light, made by Anheuser-Busch.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Higher beer prices led Budweiser owner Anheuser-Busch InBev to profit and revenue growth last year, even as U.S. sales of key brand Bud Light were curbed by boycott action.

The world’s biggest brewer recorded annual revenue of $59.38 billion, up 7.8%, but shy of analyst expectations of $60.48 billion, according to an LSEG-compiled consensus. Volumes sold fell by 1.7%, with beer brands declining by 2.3%.

Core profit (EBITDA) rose 7% annually to nearly $20 billion, also just under a forecast of $20.1 billion.

Fourth-quarter sales came in slightly ahead of expectations at 6.2% growth. But revenue in the U.S. fell 17.3% in the quarter, as sales-to-retailers dropped 12.1% — a drop that the company primarily attributed to declines in sales of Bud Light, which lost its spot as the best-selling U.S. beer.

The company became embroiled in a social media-driven boycott of its core Bud Light brand in the middle of last year. It also weathered wider beer industry struggles from higher input costs and a squeeze on consumer spending.

This is a breaking story, please check back for updates.

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