Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) is still struggling to adjust to the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The beer giant said on Tuesday that it is slashing its dividend to preserve cash as sales volumes decline in key markets across Europe and North America.
The owner of the Budweiser and Bud Light brands cut its dividend by 50% while citing uncertainty around demand due to COVID-19 and related social distancing efforts.
Those moves have temporarily erased several revenue sources for InBev, with on-premise sales of alcoholic drinks ending due to the cancellation of sporting events, concerts, and most restaurant and bar services. "COVID-19 is changing everyone's lives in unprecedented ways," CEO Carlos Brito said in a press release.
The dividend cut is part of a wider effort to accumulate cash in preparation for a potentially sluggish rebound. The beer giant has announced over $10 billion of additional loans since late March and must balance that new debt with cash outflow to keep its leverage in a comfortable range.
"This decision is consistent with the company's financial discipline, deleveraging commitments, and other actions taken to navigate in this environment," management said.