The world's largest brewer earned $0.80 per share in the third quarter, up 12.7% from the previous year, and saw a 4.5% spike in gross sales. In addition, it set a 12% EPS growth target for 2004.
What are the reasons for continued optimism in double-digit earnings growth? It's a good question that all investors should ask about their stocks. One of the points in my recent 12 Investing Must-Knows column was knowledge of what will drive a business to greater and greater profits. I summed up Anheuser-Busch thusly: new products and the pricing power it has achieved by the strength of its brand.
There's no reason to believe this won't continue. A-B is currently in the midst of a two-stage price increase on products that cover about 40% of its total volume. This marks the sixth straight year it has implemented such an increase, and shows why it keeps growing earnings and expanding margins even though total beer volume was up just 2.1% for the quarter.
Also, the brand remains extremely strong. Budweiser is the world's top-selling beer, and is edged out in the U.S. only by Bud Light. Those two -- along with names like Busch, Michelob, and O'Doul's -- helped the company gain market share once again this quarter, keeping it far ahead of rivals Miller and Coors
Rex Moore owns shares of Anheuser-Busch.