America's biggest brewer just keeps growing. Anheuser-Busch
Still, there's no arguing with success, and the Anheuser-Busch brands command pretty hefty shares of the market. Over half of the beer swilled in the U.S. comes from the St. Louis brewer.
Strangely enough, that percentage fell by 0.3%. Management chalked the drop-off to "timing." (This seems to be the new it excuse. If my puppy could talk, I'm pretty sure he'd tell me the chewed-up sofa pillows are also a victim of timing.) The company said it expects to gain market share over the course of the year, and there's little reason to doubt it.
I don't know about you, but I like a little flavor with my beer, thank you. But there's Old Style in the fridge because it's dirt cheap. Luckily for Bud, other beer drinkers are more loyal than I am. The public has endured Anheuser-Busch's "successful implementation of pricing actions," meaning the firm jacked up the cost, and people keep drinking their favorite.
That bodes well for shareholders, especially since the volume of beer shipped is growing at a snail's pace, yielding revenue growth of only 6%. The company already commands the best gross margins in the business, 5% better than Miller and Coors Brewing
It would look a lot like a Rule Maker, if not for its undersized cash reserve of $138 million, an oversized and growing debt load ($7.5 billion). In the end, the equity and the beer are pretty similar. They're big, they're everywhere, but they're just so-so. I'm not too proud to quaff a Bud now and then, but the stock's prospects don't look quite so refreshing.
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