US sales up in Q1 2012 PA

Anheuser-Busch InBev posted a 7.4 percent rise in core profits as the world's biggest brewer increased US sales for the first time in three years.

InBev said core profits hit $3.55bn for the first three months of this year after a 1.8 percent boost in sales of beer and other drinks in the United States. Earnings per share at the Leuven, Belgium based group were reported at $1.05, up from $0.73 from the same period last year. Group revenues rose 6.2 percent to $9.3bn.

The boost in US sales marks the first increase in three years. Anheuser-Busch InBev, the makers of Stella Artois and Budweiser, said the launch of its new brand, Bud Light Platinum, which was launched at the end of January and only one week before Americian football's Super Bowl, helped the surge in sales.

In Latin America North, the brewer's second most profitable region, tax increases in Brazil held back revenue growth and transport costs and sales and marketing expenses increased. However, InBev says that the 7.5 percent minimum wage increase in Brazil should increase consumption and drive sales upwards this year.

Anheuser-BuschInBev shares fell more than 2 percent in early market trading in Brussels, changing hands at 53.91. The shares have gained nearly 14 percent so far this year.