20-F 1 d462340d20f.htm FORM 20-F Form 20-F
Table of Contents

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

FORM 20-F

(Mark One)

REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended 31 December 2017

OR

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

 

SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

N/A

(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)

Belgium

(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

Brouwerijplein 1,

3000 Leuven, Belgium

(Address of principal executive offices)

John Blood

General Counsel

Brouwerijplein 1, 3000 Leuven

Belgium

Telephone No.: + 32 16 27 61 11

Email: Corporategovernance@ab-inbev.com

(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.

 

Title of each class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Ordinary shares without nominal value   New York Stock Exchange*
American Depositary Shares, each representing one ordinary share without nominal value   New York Stock Exchange
6.375% Notes due 2040 (issued January 2010)   New York Stock Exchange
5.375% Notes due 2020 (issued January 2010)   New York Stock Exchange
4.375% Notes due 2021 (issued January 2011)   New York Stock Exchange
6.875% Notes due 2019 (issued February 2011)   New York Stock Exchange
2.500% Notes due 2022 (issued July 2012)   New York Stock Exchange
3.750% Notes due 2042 (issued July 2012)   New York Stock Exchange
2.625% Notes due 2023 (issued January 2013)   New York Stock Exchange
4.000% Notes due 2043 (issued January 2013)   New York Stock Exchange
Floating Rate Notes due 2019 (issued January 2014)   New York Stock Exchange
2.150% Notes due 2019 (issued January 2014)   New York Stock Exchange
3.700% Notes due 2024 (issued January 2014)   New York Stock Exchange
4.625% Notes due 2044 (issued January 2014)   New York Stock Exchange
1.900% Notes due 2019 (issued January 2016)   New York Stock Exchange
2.650% Notes due 2021 (issued January 2016)   New York Stock Exchange
3.300% Notes due 2023 (issued January 2016)   New York Stock Exchange
3.650% Notes due 2026 (issued January 2016)   New York Stock Exchange
4.700% Notes due 2036 (issued January 2016)   New York Stock Exchange
4.900% Notes due 2046 (issued January 2016)   New York Stock Exchange
Floating Rate Notes due 2021 (issued January 2016)   New York Stock Exchange
2.200% Notes due 2018 (issued December 2016)   New York Stock Exchange
Floating Rate Notes due 2018 (issued December 2016)   New York Stock Exchange
3.750% Notes due 2022 (issued December 2016)   New York Stock Exchange
4.950% Notes due 2042 (issued December 2016)   New York Stock Exchange
6.625% Notes due 2033 (issued December 2016)   New York Stock Exchange
5.875% Notes due 2035 (issued December 2016)   New York Stock Exchange

 

* Not for trading, but in connection with the registration of American Depositary Shares, pursuant to the requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act.

None

(Title of Class)

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act.

None

(Title of Class)

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report.

1,693,242,156 ordinary shares without nominal value

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.      Yes      No

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.      Yes      No

Note – Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.      Yes      No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).      Yes      No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non-accelerated filer. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large accelerated filer     Accelerated filer      Non-accelerated filer  
     Emerging growth company  

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

 

The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

 

U.S. GAAP    

International Financial Reporting Standards as issued

by the International Accounting Standards Board  

   Other  

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow. N/A      Item 17      Item 18

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).      Yes      No

(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Section 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court. N/A      Yes      No

 


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

PRESENTATION OF FINANCIAL AND OTHER DATA      iii  
PRESENTATION OF MARKET INFORMATION      iv  
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS      v  

ITEM 1.

    

IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

     1  

A.

    

DIRECTORS AND SENIOR MANAGEMENT

     1  

B.

    

ADVISERS

     1  

C.

    

AUDITORS

     1  

ITEM 2.

    

OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

     1  

A.

    

OFFER STATISTICS

     1  

B.

    

METHOD AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

     1  

ITEM 3.

    

KEY INFORMATION

     1  

A.

    

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

     1  

B.

    

CAPITALIZATION AND INDEBTEDNESS

     2  

C.

    

REASONS FOR THE OFFER AND USE OF PROCEEDS

     2  

D.

    

RISK FACTORS

     3  

ITEM 4.

    

INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

     27  

A.

    

HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMPANY

     27  

B.

    

BUSINESS OVERVIEW

     29  

C.

    

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

     61  

D.

    

PROPERTY, PLANTS AND EQUIPMENT

     62  

ITEM 4A.

    

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

     62  

ITEM 5.

    

OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW

     62  

A.

    

KEY FACTORS AFFECTING RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

     62  

ITEM 6.

    

DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

     126  

A.

    

DIRECTORS AND SENIOR MANAGEMENT

     126  

B.

    

COMPENSATION

     140  

C.

    

BOARD PRACTICES

     161  

D.

    

EMPLOYEES

     163  

E.

    

SHARE OWNERSHIP

     165  

ITEM 7.

    

MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

     165  

A.

    

MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS

     165  

B.

    

RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

     169  

C.

    

INTERESTS OF EXPERTS AND COUNSEL

     172  

ITEM 8.

    

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

     172  

A.

    

CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INFORMATION

     172  

B.

    

SIGNIFICANT CHANGES

     183  

ITEM 9.

    

THE OFFER AND LISTING

     183  

A.

    

THE OFFER AND LISTING

     183  

B.

    

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

     185  

 

-i-


Table of Contents

C.

    

MARKETS

     185  

D.

    

SELLING SHAREHOLDERS

     186  

E.

    

DILUTION

     186  

F.

    

EXPENSES OF THE ISSUE

     186  

ITEM 10.

    

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

     186  

A.

    

SHARE CAPITAL

     186  

B.

    

MEMORANDUM AND ARTICLES OF ASSOCIATION AND OTHER SHARE INFORMATION

     186  

C.

    

MATERIAL CONTRACTS

     196  

D.

    

EXCHANGE CONTROLS

     201  

E.

    

TAXATION

     201  

F.

    

DIVIDENDS AND PAYING AGENTS

     208  

G.

    

STATEMENT BY EXPERTS

     208  

H.

    

DOCUMENTS ON DISPLAY

     208  

I.

    

SUBSIDIARY INFORMATION

     209  

ITEM 11.

    

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

     209  
    

MARKET RISK, HEDGING AND FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS

     209  

ITEM 12.

    

DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES

     212  

A.

    

DEBT SECURITIES

     212  

B.

    

WARRANTS AND RIGHTS

     212  

C.

    

OTHER SECURITIES

     212  

D.

    

AMERICAN DEPOSITARY SHARES

     212  

ITEM 13.

    

DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES

     217  

ITEM 14.

    

MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS

     217  

ITEM 15.

    

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

     217  

ITEM 16A.

    

AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT

     218  

ITEM 16B.

    

CODE OF ETHICS

     218  

ITEM 16C.

    

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

     219  

ITEM 16D.

    

EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LISTING STANDARDS FOR AUDIT COMMITTEES

     220  

ITEM 16E.

    

PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES BY THE ISSUER

     220  

ITEM 16F.

    

CHANGE IN REGISTRANT’S CERTIFYING ACCOUNTANT

     220  

ITEM 16G.

    

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

     221  

ITEM 16H.

    

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE

     221  

ITEM 17.

    

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     222  

ITEM 18.

    

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     222  

ITEM 19.

    

EXHIBITS

     222  

 

-ii-


Table of Contents

GENERAL INFORMATION

In this annual report on Form 20-F (“Form 20-F”) references to:

 

    AB InBev,” “we,” “us” and “our” are, as the context requires, to Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (formerly Newbelco SA/NV) or Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV and the group of companies owned and/or controlled by Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV and consolidated into our results;

 

    AB InBev Group” or “Combined Group” are to Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV and the group of companies owned and/or controlled by Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV;

 

    Ambev” are to Ambev S.A., a Brazilian company listed on the New York Stock Exchange and on the São Paulo Stock Exchange, and successor of Companhia de Bebidas das Américas—Ambev;

 

    Anheuser-Busch” are to Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC and the group of companies owned and/or controlled by Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC, as the context requires;

 

    former AB InBev” are, as the context requires, to Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV or Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV and the group of companies owned and/or controlled by Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV prior to the completion of the combination with SAB on 10 October 2016;

 

    Grupo Modelo” are to Cervecería Modelo de México, S. de R.L. de C.V., a Mexican limited liability company;

 

    Newbelco” are to Newbelco SA/NV prior to 10 October 2016;

 

    Ordinary Shares” are to ordinary shares without nominal value issued by Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV;

 

    Restricted Shares” are to shares without nominal value issued by Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV to former SAB shareholders in connection with the combination with SAB, which are unlisted, not admitted to trading on any stock exchange and are subject to, among other things, restrictions on transfer until they are converted into Ordinary Shares;

 

    SAB” are, as the context requires, to ABI SAB Group Holding Limited (formerly SABMiller Limited and prior to that SABMiller plc) or to ABI SAB Group Holding Limited and the group of companies owned and/or controlled by ABI SAB Group Holding Limited prior to the combination between AB InBev and ABI SAB Group Holding Limited on 10 October 2016; and

 

    SAB Group” are to ABI SAB Group Holding Limited and the group of companies owned and/or controlled by ABI SAB Group Holding Limited.

PRESENTATION OF FINANCIAL AND OTHER DATA

We have prepared our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017, in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board, and in conformity with International Financial Reporting Standards as adopted by the European Union (“IFRS”). Unless otherwise specified, the financial information analysis in this Form 20-F is based on our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017. Unless otherwise specified, all financial information included in this Form 20-F has been stated in U.S. dollars.

 

-iii-


Table of Contents

All references in this Form 20-F to (i) “euro” or “EUR” are to the common currency of the European Union, (ii) “U.S. dollar,” “$” or “USD” are to the currency of the United States of America, (iii) “CAD” (Canadian dollar) are to the currency of Canada, (iv) “R$,” “real” or “reais” are to the currency of Brazil, (v) “GBP” (pound sterling) are to the currency of the United Kingdom, (vi) “AUD” (Australian dollar) are to the currency of the Commonwealth of Australia, (vii) “MXN” (Mexican peso) are to the currency of Mexico, (viii) “RUB” (Russian ruble) are to the currency of Russia; (ix) “UAH” (Ukrainian hryvnia) are to the currency of Ukraine, (x) “ZAR” (South African rand) are to the currency of South Africa, (xi) “COP” (Colombian peso) are to the currency of Colombia and (xii) “PEN” (Peruvian nuevo sol) are to the currency of Peru.

Unless otherwise specified, volumes, as used in this Form 20-F, include beer (including near beer) and non-beer (primarily carbonated soft drinks) volumes. In addition, unless otherwise specified, our volumes include not only brands that we own or license, but also third-party brands that we brew or otherwise produce as a subcontractor, and third-party products that we sell through our distribution network, particularly in Western Europe. Our volume figures in this Form 20-F reflect 100% of the volumes of entities that we fully consolidate in our financial reporting and a proportionate share of the volumes of entities that we proportionately consolidate in our financial reporting, but do not include volumes of our associates, joint ventures or non-consolidated entities.

Following the combination with Grupo Modelo, we have fully consolidated Grupo Modelo in our financial reporting as of 4 June 2013. Effective 1 April 2014, we discontinued the reporting of volumes sold to Constellation Brands, Inc. under the interim supply agreement, since these volumes do not form part of the underlying performance of our business.

The Oriental Brewery business is reported in the Asia Pacific region as from 1 April 2014.

Since 1 October 2016, we have reported our financial results under the following six regions: North America, Latin America West, Latin America North, Latin America South, EMEA and Asia Pacific. We continue to separately report the results of Global Export and Holding Companies, which includes our global headquarters and the export businesses which have not been allocated to the regions. Our six geographic regions plus our Global Export and Holding Companies comprise our seven segments for all financial reporting purposes. For a list of the countries comprising our geographic reporting regions, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—3. Main Markets.”

Following the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—B. Significant Accounting Policies—Summary of Changes in Accounting Policies” for further information on how our accounting policies changed in 2017.

PRESENTATION OF MARKET INFORMATION

Market information (including market share, market position and industry data for our operating activities and those of our subsidiaries or of companies acquired by us) or other statements presented in this Form 20-F regarding our position (or that of companies acquired by us) relative to our competitors largely reflect the best estimates of our management. These estimates are based upon information obtained from customers, trade or business organizations and associations, other contacts within the industries in which we operate and, in some cases, upon published statistical data or information from independent third parties. Except as otherwise stated, our market share data, as well as our management’s assessment of our comparative competitive position, has been derived by comparing our sales figures for the relevant period to our management’s estimates of our competitors’ sales figures for such period, as well as upon published statistical data and information from independent third parties, and, in particular, the reports published and the information made available by, among others, the local brewers’ associations and the national statistics bureaus in the various countries in which we sell our products. The principal sources generally used include IRI, Plato Logic Limited and AC Nielsen, as well as internal estimations based on data from the Beer Institute and IRI (for the United States), the Brewers Association of Canada (for Canada), AC Nielsen (for Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Paraguay, Russia, Ukraine and Uruguay), Cámara Nacional de la Industria de la Cerveza y de la Malta (commonly known as Cerveceros de Mexico) (for Mexico), Belgian Brewers Association (for Belgium), German Brewers Association (for Germany),

 

-iv-


Table of Contents

Seema International Limited (for China), the British Beer and Pub Association (for the United Kingdom), Centraal Brouwerij Kantoor—CBK (for the Netherlands), Association des Brasseurs de France and AC Nielsen (for France), Plato Logic Limited (for Australia, Italy, Peru, South Africa and Uganda), the Korean International Trade Association (for South Korea) and other local brewers’ associations. You should not rely on the market share and other market information presented herein as precise measures of market share or of other actual conditions.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

There are statements in this Form 20-F, such as statements that include the words or phrases “will likely result,” “are expected to,” “will continue,” “is anticipated,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “project,” “may,” “might,” “could,” “believe,” “expect,” “plan,” “potential,” “we aim,” “our goal,” “our vision,” “we intend” or similar expressions that are forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those suggested by these statements due to, among others, the risks or uncertainties listed below. See also “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” for further discussion of risks and uncertainties that could impact our business.

These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. Rather, they are based on current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside our control and are difficult to predict, that may cause actual results or developments to differ materially from any future results or developments expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements include, among others:

 

    local, regional, national and international economic conditions, including the risks of a global recession or a recession in one or more of our key markets, and the impact they may have on us and our customers and our assessment of that impact;

 

    financial risks, such as interest rate risk, foreign exchange rate risk (in particular as against the U.S. dollar, our reporting currency), commodity risk, asset price risk, equity market risk, counterparty risk, sovereign risk, liquidity risk, inflation or deflation;

 

    continued geopolitical instability, which may result in, among other things, economic and political sanctions and currency exchange rate volatility, and which may have a substantial impact on the economies of one or more of our key markets;

 

    changes in government policies and currency controls;

 

    continued availability of financing and our ability to achieve our targeted coverage and debt levels and terms, including the risk of constraints on financing in the event of a credit rating downgrade;

 

    the monetary and interest rate policies of central banks, in particular the European Central Bank, the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System, the Bank of England, Banco Central do Brasil, Banco Central de la República Argentina, the Central Bank of China, the South African Reserve Bank, Banco de la República in Colombia and other central banks;

 

    changes in applicable laws, regulations and taxes in jurisdictions in which we operate, including the laws and regulations governing our operations and changes to tax benefit programs, as well as actions or decisions of courts and regulators;

 

    limitations on our ability to contain costs and expenses;

 

    our expectations with respect to expansion plans, premium growth, accretion to reported earnings, working capital improvements and investment income or cash flow projections;

 

-v-


Table of Contents
    our ability to continue to introduce competitive new products and services on a timely, cost-effective basis;

 

    the effects of competition and consolidation in the markets in which we operate, which may be influenced by regulation, deregulation or enforcement policies;

 

    changes in consumer spending;

 

    changes in pricing environments;

 

    volatility in the prices of raw materials, commodities and energy;

 

    difficulties in maintaining relationships with employees;

 

    regional or general changes in asset valuations;

 

    greater than expected costs (including taxes) and expenses;

 

    the risk of unexpected consequences resulting from acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic alliances, corporate reorganizations or divestiture plans, and our ability to successfully and cost-effectively implement these transactions and integrate the operations of businesses or other assets we have acquired;

 

    an inability to realize synergies from the combination with SAB;

 

    the outcome of pending and future litigation, investigations and governmental proceedings;

 

    natural and other disasters;

 

    any inability to economically hedge certain risks;

 

    inadequate impairment provisions and loss reserves;

 

    technological changes and threats to cybersecurity;

 

    other statements included in this annual report that are not historical; and

 

    our success in managing the risks involved in the foregoing.

Our statements regarding financial risks, including interest rate risk, foreign exchange rate risk, commodity risk, asset price risk, equity market risk, counterparty risk, sovereign risk, inflation and deflation, are subject to uncertainty. For example, certain market and financial risk disclosures are dependent on choices about key model characteristics and assumptions and are subject to various limitations. By their nature, certain of the market or financial risk disclosures are only estimates and, as a result, actual future gains and losses could differ materially from those that have been estimated.

Certain of the cost savings and synergies information related to the combination with SAB set forth in “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—1. Strengths and Strategy—Strengths” of this Form 20-F constitute forward-looking statements and may not be representative of the actual cost savings and synergies that will result from the combination with SAB. Such information included in this Form 20-F reflects potential opportunities for savings and synergies identified by us based on estimates and assumptions that are inherently subject to significant uncertainties which are difficult to predict, and accordingly there can be no assurance that these cost savings and synergies will be realized. The statements relating to the synergies, cost savings and business growth opportunities we expect to continue to achieve following the combination with SAB are based on assumptions. However, these expected synergies, cost savings and business growth opportunities may not be achieved. There can be no assurance that we will be able to continue to implement successfully the strategic and operational initiatives that are intended.

 

-vi-


Table of Contents

We caution that the forward-looking statements in this Form 20-F are further qualified by the risk factors disclosed in “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Subject to our obligations under Belgian and U.S. law in relation to disclosure and ongoing information, we undertake no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

 

-vii-


Table of Contents

PART I

 

ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

A. DIRECTORS AND SENIOR MANAGEMENT

Not applicable.

B. ADVISERS

Not applicable.

C. AUDITORS

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

A. OFFER STATISTICS

Not applicable.

B. METH OD AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION

A. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

The selected historical financial information presented below as of 31 December 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013, and for the five years ended 31 December 2017, has been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements, which were prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board, and in conformity with International Financial Reporting Standards as adopted by the European Union (“IFRS”). Our financial statements presentation and reporting currency is the U.S. dollar. Unless otherwise specified, all financial information included in this Form 20-F has been stated in U.S. dollars.

The selected historical financial information presented in the tables below should be read in conjunction with, and is qualified in its entirety by reference to, our audited consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes. The audited consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes as of 31 December 2017 and 2016 and for the three years ended 31 December 2017 have been included in this Form 20-F.

The financial information in this Form 20-F and our consolidated financial statements represent the continuation of the financial statements of former AB InBev, our predecessor-in-interest.

 

1


Table of Contents
     2017      2016(6)      2015      2014      2013  
     (USD millions)  

Income Statement Data

              

Revenue(1)

     56,444        45,517        43,604        47,063        43,195  

Profit from operations

     17,152        12,882        13,904        15,111        20,443  

Profit from continuing operations

     9,155        2,721        9,867        11,302        16,518  

Profit of the year

     9,183        2,769        9,867        11,302        16,518  

Profit attributable to our equity holders

     7,996        1,241        8,273        9,216        14,394  

Weighted average number of Ordinary and Restricted Shares (million shares)(2)

     1,971        1,717        1,638        1,634        1,617  

Diluted weighted average number of Ordinary and Restricted Shares (million shares)(3)

     2,010        1,755        1,668        1,665        1,650  

Basic earnings per share (USD)(4)

     4.06        0.72        5.05        5.64        8.90  

Basic earnings per share from continuing operations (USD)(4)

     4.04        0.69        5.05        5.64        8.90  

Diluted earnings per share (USD)(5)

     3.98        0.71        4.96        5.54        8.72  

Dividends per share (USD)

     4.33        3.85        3.95        3.52        2.83  

Dividends per share (EUR)

     3.60        3.60        3.60        3.00        2.05  

Financial Position Data

              

Total assets

     246,126        258,381        134,635        142,550        141,666  

Equity

     80,220        81,425        45,719        54,257        55,308  

Equity attributable to our equity holders

     72,585        71,339        42,137        49,972        50,365  

Issued capital

     1,736        1,736        1,736        1,736        1,735  

Other Data

              

Volumes (million hectoliters)

     613        500        457        459        426  

 

Notes:

 

(1) Turnover less excise taxes and discounts. In many jurisdictions, excise taxes make up a large proportion of the cost of beer charged to our customers (see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—A. Key Factors Affecting Results of Operations—Excise Taxes”).
(2) Weighted average number of Ordinary and Restricted Shares means, for any period, the number of shares outstanding at the beginning of the period, adjusted by the number of shares canceled, repurchased or issued during the period, including deferred share instruments and stock lending, multiplied by a time-weighting factor.
(3) Diluted weighted average number of Ordinary and Restricted Shares means the weighted average number of Ordinary Shares, adjusted by the effect of share options issued.
(4) Earnings per share means, for any period, profit attributable to our equity holders for the period divided by the weighted average number of Ordinary and Restricted Shares.
(5) Diluted earnings per share means, for any period, profit attributable to our equity holders for the period divided by the diluted weighted average number of Ordinary and Restricted Shares.
(6) Following the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016. For more information on the combination with SAB, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—A. History and Development of the Company.”

B. CAPITALIZATION AND INDEBTEDNESS

Not applicable.

C. REASONS FOR THE OFFER AND USE OF PROCEEDS

Not applicable.

 

2


Table of Contents

D. RISK FACTORS

Investing in our shares involves risk. We expect to be exposed to some or all of the risks described below in our future operations. Such risks include, but are not limited to, the risk factors described below. Any of the risk factors described below, as well as additional risks of which we are not currently aware, could also affect our business operations and have a material adverse effect on our business activities, financial condition, results of operations and prospects and cause the value of our shares to decline. Moreover, if and to the extent that any of the risks described below materialize, they may occur in combination with other risks which would compound the adverse effect of such risks on our business activities, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Investors in our shares and American Depositary Shares (“ADSs”) could lose all or part of their investment.

You should carefully consider the following information in conjunction with the other information contained or incorporated by reference in this document. The sequence in which the risk factors are presented below is not indicative of their likelihood of occurrence or of the potential magnitude of their financial consequences.

Risks Relating to Our Business

We are exposed to the risks of an economic recession, credit and capital markets volatility and economic and financial crisis, which could adversely affect the demand for our products and adversely affect the market price of our Ordinary Shares and ADSs.

We are exposed to the risk of a global recession or a recession in one or more of our key markets, credit and capital markets volatility and an economic or financial crisis, which could result in lower revenue and reduced profit.

Beer, other alcoholic beverage and soft drink consumption in many of the jurisdictions in which we operate is closely linked to general economic conditions, with levels of consumption tending to rise during periods of rising per capita income and fall during periods of declining per capita income. Additionally, per capita consumption is inversely related to the sale price of our products.

Besides moving in concert with changes in per capita income, beer and other alcoholic beverage consumption also increases or decreases in accordance with changes in disposable income.

Currently, disposable income is low in many of the developing countries in which we operate compared to disposable income in more developed countries. Any decrease in disposable income resulting from an increase in inflation, income taxes, the cost of living, unemployment levels, political or economic instability or other factors would likely adversely affect the demand for beer. Moreover, because a relevant portion of our brand portfolio consists of premium beers, our volumes and revenue may be impacted to a greater degree than those of some of our competitors, as some consumers may choose to purchase value or discount brands rather than premium or core brands. For additional information on the categorization of the beer market and our positioning, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—2. Principal Activities and Products—Beer.”

Capital and credit markets volatility, such as that experienced in recent years, may result in downward pressure on stock prices and the credit capacity of issuers. Potential changes in social, political, regulatory and economic conditions in the U.S. and the European Union, including changes in policies governing foreign trade and imports, may be significant drivers of capital and credit market volatility. A continuation or worsening of the levels of market disruption and volatility seen in the recent past could have an adverse effect on our ability to access capital, on our business, results of operations and financial condition, and on the market price of our Ordinary Shares and our ADSs.

 

3


Table of Contents

Our results of operations are affected by fluctuations in exchange rates.

Although we report our consolidated results in U.S. dollars, in 2017, we derived approximately 73% of our revenue from operating companies that have non-U.S. dollar functional currencies (in most cases, in the local currency of the respective operating company). Consequently, any change in exchange rates between our operating companies’ functional currencies and the U.S. dollar will affect our consolidated income statement and balance sheet when the results of those operating companies are translated into U.S. dollars for our reporting purposes, as we cannot hedge against translational exposures. Decreases in the value of our operating companies’ functional currencies against the U.S. dollar will tend to reduce those operating companies’ contributions in dollar terms to our financial condition and results of operations.

During 2017, several currencies, such as the Brazilian real, the Chinese yuan, the Mexican peso, the South African rand, the euro and the Colombian peso, appreciated against the U.S. dollar, which generally weakened during the same period. Our total consolidated revenue was USD 56.4 billion for the year ended 31 December 2017, an increase of USD 10.9 billion compared to the year ended 31 December 2016. The positive impact of favorable currency translation effects on our consolidated revenue in the year ended 31 December 2017 was USD 0.3 billion, primarily as a result of the impact of the currencies listed above.

Significant changes in the value of foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar could adversely affect the amounts we record for our foreign assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses, and could have a negative effect on our results of operations and profitability. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—E. Results of Operations—Year Ended 31 December 2017 Compared to the Year Ended 31 December 2016” for further details on the impact of currency translation effects on our results of operations.

In addition to currency translation risk, we incur currency transaction risks whenever one of our operating companies enters into transactions using currencies other than its respective functional currency, including purchase or sale transactions and the issuance or incurrence of debt. Although we have hedging policies in place to manage commodity price and foreign currency risks to protect our exposure to currencies other than our operating companies’ functional currencies, there can be no assurance that such policies will be able to successfully hedge against the effects of such foreign exchange exposure, particularly over the long term.

Much of our debt is denominated in U.S. dollars, while a significant portion of our cash flows is denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. From time to time we enter into financial instruments to mitigate currency risk, but these transactions and any other efforts taken to better match the effective currencies of our liabilities to our cash flows could result in increased costs. See “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk—Market Risk, Hedging and Financial Instruments”, note 29 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017, for further details on our approach to hedging commodity price and foreign currency risk.

Changes in the availability or price of raw materials, commodities and energy could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

A significant portion of our operating expenses is related to raw materials and commodities, such as malted barley, wheat, corn grits, corn syrup, rice, hops, flavored concentrate, fruit concentrate, sugar, sweetener, water, glass, polyethylene terephthalate (“PET”) and aluminum bottles, aluminum or steel cans and kegs, aluminum can stock, labels, plastic crates, metal and plastic closures, folding cartons, cardboard products and plastic films.

The supply and price of raw materials and commodities used for the production of our products can be affected by a number of factors beyond our control, including the level of crop production around the world, export demand, quality and availability of supply, speculative movements in the raw materials or commodities markets, currency fluctuations, governmental regulations and legislation affecting agriculture, trade agreements among producing and consuming nations, adverse weather conditions, natural disasters, economic factors affecting growth decisions, political developments, various plant diseases and pests.

We cannot predict future availability or prices of the raw materials or commodities required for our products. The markets in certain raw materials or commodities have experienced and may in the future experience shortages and significant price fluctuations, including as a result of unexpected increases in tariffs on such raw materials and commodities. The foregoing may affect the price and availability of ingredients that we use to manufacture our products, as well as the cans and bottles in which our products are packaged. We may not be able to increase our prices to offset these increased costs or increase our prices without suffering reduced volume, revenue

 

4


Table of Contents

and operating income. To some extent, derivative financial instruments and the terms of supply agreements can protect against increases in materials and commodities costs in the short term. However, derivatives and supply agreements expire and upon expiry are subject to renegotiation and therefore cannot provide complete protection over the medium or longer term. To the extent we fail to adequately manage the risks inherent in such volatility, including if our hedging and derivative arrangements do not effectively or completely hedge against changes in commodity prices, our results of operations may be adversely impacted. In addition, it is possible that the hedging and derivative instruments we use to establish the purchase price for commodities in advance of the time of delivery may lock us into prices that are ultimately higher than actual market prices at the time of delivery. See “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk—Market Risk, Hedging and Financial Instruments” for further details on our approach to hedging commodity price risk.

The production and distribution of our products require material amounts of energy, including the consumption of oil-based products, natural gas, biomass, coal and electricity. Energy prices have been subject to significant price volatility in the recent past and may be again in the future. High energy prices over an extended period of time, as well as changes in energy taxation and regulation in certain geographies, may result in a negative effect on operating income and could potentially challenge our profitability in certain markets. There is no guarantee that we will be able to pass along increased energy costs to our customers in every case.

The production of our products also requires large amounts of water, including water consumption in the agricultural supply chain. Changes in precipitation patterns and the frequency of extreme weather events may affect our water supply and, as a result, its physical operations. Water may also be subject to price increases in certain areas and changes in water taxation and regulation in certain geographies may result in a negative effect on operating income which could potentially challenge our profitability in certain markets. There is no guarantee that we will be able to pass along increased water costs to our customers in every case. See “—Climate change or other environmental concerns, or legal, regulatory or market measures to address climate change or other environmental concerns, may negatively affect our business or operations, including the availability of key production inputs.”

We may not be able to obtain the necessary funding for our future capital or refinancing needs and may face financial risks due to our level of debt, uncertain market conditions and as a result of the potential downgrading of our credit ratings.

We may be required to raise additional funds for our future capital needs or to refinance our current indebtedness through public or private financing, strategic relationships or other arrangements. There can be no assurance that the funding, if needed, will be available on attractive terms, or at all.

Following the combination with SAB, the portion of our consolidated balance sheet represented by debt is significantly higher as compared to former AB InBev’s historical position and we expect it to remain so for some time. To fund the combination with SAB, former AB InBev entered into, among others, the following transactions:

 

    in January 2016, our subsidiary Anheuser-Busch InBev Finance Inc. (“ABIFI”) issued bonds in debt capital markets offerings resulting in aggregate net proceeds of approximately USD 47.0 billion; and

 

    in March 2016, former AB InBev issued bonds in a debt capital markets offering under our Euro Medium-Term Notes Programme (“EMTN Programme”) resulting in aggregate net proceeds of approximately EUR 13.1 billion, to which we are the successor-in-interest.

Since the combination with SAB we have undertaken further debt issuance and debt liability management exercises; see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—G. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Funding Sources—Borrowings” for more information on our financing activities .

Our continued increased level of debt could have significant consequences, including:

 

    increasing our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions;

 

5


Table of Contents
    limiting our ability to fund future working capital and capital expenditures, to engage in future acquisitions or development activities or to otherwise realize the value of our assets and opportunities fully;

 

    limiting our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the industry in which we operate;

 

    impairing our ability to obtain additional financing in the future, or requiring us to obtain financing involving restrictive covenants;

 

    requiring us to issue additional equity (possibly under unfavorable conditions), which could dilute our existing shareholders’ equity; and

 

    placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less debt.

In addition, ratings agencies may downgrade our credit ratings below their current levels, including as a result of the incurrence of financial indebtedness related to the combination with SAB. In September 2015, Moody’s Investors Service changed former AB InBev’s outlook to “Developing,” citing downward rating pressure following completion of the combination with SAB due to higher leverage and certain integration risks. In May 2016, Moody’s Investors Service concluded its ratings review and assigned a definitive rating of A3 (stable outlook) to former AB InBev’s long-term debt obligations. As of the date of this annual report, our credit rating from S&P Global Ratings was A- for long-term obligations and A-2 for short-term obligations, with a Negative outlook, and our credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service was A3 for long-term obligations and P-2 for short-term obligations, with a stable outlook. Any credit rating downgrade could materially adversely affect our ability to finance our ongoing operations and our ability to refinance the debt incurred to fund the combination with SAB, including by increasing our cost of borrowing and significantly harming our financial condition, results of operations and profitability, including our ability to refinance our other existing indebtedness.

In recent years, we have given priority, among other things, to deleveraging, with surplus free cash flow being used to reduce the level of outstanding debt. In light of the increased debt we assumed in connection with the combination with SAB, deleveraging remains a priority and may restrict the amount of dividends we are able to pay.

Our ability to repay and renegotiate our outstanding indebtedness will depend upon market conditions. In recent years, the global credit markets experienced significant price volatility, dislocations and liquidity disruptions that caused the cost of debt financings to fluctuate considerably. The markets also put downward pressure on stock prices and credit capacity for certain issuers without regard to those issuers’ underlying financial strength. Reflecting concern about the stability of the financial markets generally and the strength of counterparties, many lenders and institutional investors reduced and, in some cases, ceased to provide funding to borrowers. If such uncertain conditions persist, our costs could increase beyond what is anticipated. Such costs could have a material adverse impact on our cash flows, results of operations or both. In addition, an inability to refinance all or a substantial amount of our debt obligations when they become due, or more generally a failure to raise additional equity capital or debt financing or to realize proceeds from asset sales when needed, would have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Our results could be negatively affected by increasing interest rates.

We use issuances of debt and bank borrowings as a source of funding and we carry a significant level of debt. Nevertheless, pursuant to our capital structure policy, we aim to optimize shareholder value through cash flow distribution to us from our subsidiaries, while maintaining an investment-grade rating and minimizing cash and investments with a return below our weighted average cost of capital. There can be no assurance that we will be able to pursue a similar capital structure policy in the future.

Some of the debt we have issued or incurred was issued or incurred at variable interest rates, which exposes us to changes in such interest rates. As of 31 December 2017, after certain hedging and fair value adjustments, USD 7.7 billion, or 6.6%, of our interest-bearing financial liabilities (which include loans, borrowings and bank

 

6


Table of Contents

overdrafts) bore a variable interest rate, while USD 108.8 billion, or 93.4%, bore a fixed interest rate. Moreover, a significant part of our external debt is denominated in non-U.S. dollar currencies, including the Australian dollar, the Brazilian real, the Canadian dollar, the euro, the pound sterling, the South African rand and the South Korean won. Although we enter into interest rate swap agreements to manage our interest rate risk, and also enter into cross-currency interest rate swap agreements to manage both our foreign currency risk and interest-rate risk on interest-bearing financial liabilities, there can be no assurance that such instruments will be successful in reducing the risks inherent in exposures to interest rate fluctuations. See “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk—Market Risk, Hedging and Financial Instruments”, note 29 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017 for further details on our approach, currency and interest rate risk.

Certain of our operations depend on independent distributors or wholesalers to sell our products, and we may be unable to replace distributors or acquire interests in wholesalers or distributors. In addition, we may be adversely impacted by the consolidation of retailers.

Certain of our operations are dependent on government-controlled or privately owned but independent wholesale distributors for distribution of our products for resale to retail outlets. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—7. Distribution of Products” and “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—11. Regulations Affecting Our Business” for further information in this respect. There can be no assurance as to the financial affairs of such distributors or that these distributors, who often act both for us and our competitors, will not give our competitors’ products higher priority, thereby reducing their efforts to sell our products.

In the United States, for instance, we sell the vast majority of our beer to independent wholesalers for distribution to retailers and ultimately consumers. As independent companies, wholesalers make their own business decisions that may not always align themselves with our interests. If our wholesalers do not effectively distribute our products, our financial results could be adversely affected.

In addition, contractual restrictions and the regulatory environment of many markets may make it very difficult to change distributors and, in some markets, we may be prevented from acquiring interests in wholesalers or distributors (for example, see “—Our failure to satisfy our obligations under the SAB settlement agreement could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.”). In certain cases, poor performance by a distributor or wholesaler is not a sufficient reason for replacement. Our consequent inability to replace unproductive or inefficient distributors could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Moreover, the retail industry, particularly in Europe, North America and other countries in which we operate, continues to consolidate, resulting in larger retailers with increased purchasing power, which may affect our competitiveness in these markets. Larger retailers may seek to improve their profitability and sales by asking for lower prices or increased trade spending. The efforts of retailers could result in reduced profitability for the beer industry as a whole and indirectly adversely affect our financial results.

If we do not successfully comply with applicable anti-corruption laws, export control regulations and trade restrictions, we could become subject to fines, penalties or other regulatory sanctions, as well as to adverse press coverage, which could cause our reputation, our sales or our profitability to suffer.

We operate our business and market our products in emerging markets that, as a result of political and economic instability, a lack of well-developed legal systems and potentially corrupt business environments, present us with political, economic and operational risks. Although we are committed to conducting business in a legal and ethical manner in compliance with local and international statutory requirements and standards applicable to our business, there is a risk that employees or representatives of our subsidiaries, affiliates, associates, joint ventures or other business interests may take actions that violate applicable laws and regulations that generally prohibit the making of improper payments to foreign government officials for the purpose of obtaining or keeping business, including laws relating to the 1997 OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”), the U.K. Bribery Act and Brazilian Law No. 12,846/13 (an anti-bribery statute that was enacted in January 2014). Such actions could expose us to potential liability and the costs associated with investigating potential misconduct. In addition, any press coverage associated with misconduct under these laws and regulations, even if unwarranted or baseless, could damage our reputation and sales.

 

7


Table of Contents

In respect of the FCPA, we cooperated with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and the U.S. Department of Justice in connection with their investigations into the relationships of our current and former affiliates in India, including our former non-consolidated Indian joint venture, which we exited during 2015. See “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Financial Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal and Arbitration Proceedings.” On 8 June 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice notified us that it was closing its investigation and would not be pursuing enforcement action in this matter. On 28 September 2016, we entered into a settlement agreement with the SEC, pursuant to which we agreed to pay an aggregate amount (including disgorgement and penalties) of approximately USD 6 million to the SEC and assume certain ongoing reporting and cooperation obligations.

In Brazil, governmental authorities are currently investigating consulting services provided by a firm part-owned by a former elected government official who has been convicted of corruption and racketeering by Brazil’s highest court. Our subsidiary, Ambev, has, in the past, hired the services of this consulting firm. We have reviewed our internal controls and compliance procedures in relation to these services and have not identified any evidence of misconduct.

As a global brewer, we also operate our business and market our products in countries that may be subject to export control regulations, embargoes, economic sanctions and other forms of trade restrictions imposed by the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and other participants in the international community. For example, we indirectly own subsidiaries in Russia and Ukraine, the net combined revenues of which accounted for less than 1.0% of our total revenues in 2017. We do not sell directly into the Crimea region but are aware that indirect shipments may occur. In addition, certain of our associates also operate their business and market their products in countries subject to trade restrictions. For example, our associate Anadolu Efes Biracilik ve Malt Sanayii AŞ (“Anadolu Efes”) has an indirect interest in a Syrian soft drinks bottler and has limited distribution to Iran and Crimea. Furthermore, our subsidiary Ambev operates a joint venture in Cuba with the Government of Cuba. See “—Our subsidiary Ambev operates a joint venture in Cuba, in which the Government of Cuba is its joint venture partner. Cuba remains subject to comprehensive economic and trade sanctions by the United States and Ambev’s operation in Cuba may adversely affect our reputation and the liquidity and value of our securities.”

If we or any of our associates fail to comply with economic sanctions or trade restrictions imposed by the United States, the European Union or other national or international authorities that are applicable to us or them, we may be exposed to potential legal liability and the costs associated with investigating potential misconduct, as well as potential reputational damage. Moreover, new or expanded export control regulations, economic sanctions, embargoes or other forms of trade restrictions imposed on Russia, Ukraine, Syria, Cuba or other countries in which we or our associates do business may curtail our existing business and may result in serious economic challenges in these geographies, which could have a material adverse effect on our and our subsidiaries’ operations, and may result in impairment charges on goodwill or other intangible assets.

Competition and changing consumer preferences could lead to a reduction in our margins, increase costs and adversely affect our profitability.

We compete with both brewers and other drinks companies and our products compete with other beverages. Globally, brewers, as well as other players in the beverage industry, compete mainly on the basis of brand image, price, quality, distribution networks and customer service. Consolidation has significantly increased the capital base and geographic reach of our competitors in some of the markets in which we operate, and competition is expected to increase further as the trend towards consolidation among companies in the beverage industry continues. Consolidation activity has also increased along our distribution channels—in the case of both on-trade points of sale, such as pub companies, and off-trade retailers, such as supermarkets. Such consolidation could increase the purchasing power of players in our distribution channels. For more information, see “—Certain of our operations depend on independent distributors or wholesalers to sell our products, and we may be unable to replace distributors or acquire interests in wholesalers or distributors. In addition, we may be adversely impacted by the consolidation of retailers.”

 

8


Table of Contents

Concurrently, competition in the beverage industry is expanding and the market is becoming more fragmented, complex and sophisticated as consumer preferences and tastes change. Such preferences can change rapidly and in unpredictable ways due to a variety of factors, including changing levels of health consciousness among target consumers (including concerns about obesity and alcohol consumption), changes in prevailing economic conditions, changes in the demographic make-up of target consumers, changing social trends and attitudes regarding alcoholic beverages, changes in travel, vacation or leisure activity patterns, negative publicity resulting from regulatory action or litigation against us or comparable companies or a downturn in economic conditions. Consumers also may begin to prefer the products of competitors or may generally reduce their demand for products in the category.

Competition with brewers and producers of alternative beverages in our various markets and an increase in the purchasing power of players in our distribution channels could cause us to reduce pricing, increase capital investment, increase marketing and other expenditures and/or prevent us from increasing prices to recover higher costs, thereby causing us to reduce margins or lose market share. Further, we may not be able to anticipate or respond adequately either to changes in consumer preferences and tastes or to developments in new forms of media and marketing. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Innovation faces inherent risks, and the new products we introduce may not be successful, while competitors may be able to respond more quickly than we can to emerging trends, such as the increasing consumer preference for “craft beers” produced by similar microbreweries.

Additionally, the absence of level playing fields in some markets and the lack of transparency, or even certain unfair or illegal practices, such as tax evasion and corruption, may skew the competitive environment in favor of our competitors with material adverse effects on our profitability or ability to operate.

The ability of our subsidiaries to distribute cash upstream may be subject to various conditions and limitations.

To a large extent, we are organized as a holding company and our operations are carried out through subsidiaries. Our domestic and foreign subsidiaries’ and affiliated companies’ ability to upstream or distribute cash (to be used, among other things, to meet our financial obligations) through dividends, intercompany advances, management fees and other payments is, to a large extent, dependent on the availability of cash flows at the level of such domestic and foreign subsidiaries and affiliated companies and may be restricted by applicable laws and accounting principles. In particular, 26.4% (USD 14.9 billion) of our total revenue of USD 56.4 billion in 2017 came from our Brazilian listed subsidiary, Ambev, which is not wholly owned and is listed on the São Paulo Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange. In addition to the above, some of our subsidiaries are subject to laws restricting their ability to pay dividends or the amount of dividends they may pay. If we are not able to obtain sufficient cash flows from our domestic and foreign subsidiaries and affiliated companies, this could adversely impact our ability to pay dividends, and otherwise negatively impact our business, results of operations and financial condition. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—G. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Transfers from Subsidiaries” for further information in this respect.

An inability to reduce costs could affect profitability.

Our future success and earnings growth depend in part on our ability to be efficient in producing, advertising and selling our products and services. A number of our subsidiaries are in the process of executing a major cost-saving and efficiency program and we are pursuing a number of initiatives to improve operational efficiency. If we fail for any reason to successfully complete these measures and programs as planned or to derive the expected benefits from these measures and programs, there is a risk of increased costs associated with these efforts, delays in benefit realization, disruption to the business, reputational damage or a reduced competitive advantage in the medium term. Failure to generate significant cost savings and margin improvement through these initiatives could adversely affect our profitability and our ability to achieve our financial goals.

 

9


Table of Contents

We are exposed to developing market risks, including the risks of devaluation, nationalization and inflation.

A substantial proportion of our operations are carried out in developing markets, representing approximately 59.2% of our 2017 revenue, which include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, India, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania, Ukraine and Zambia.

Our operations and equity investments in these markets are subject to the customary risks of operating in developing countries, which include political instability or insurrection, external interference, financial risks, changes in government policy, political and economic changes, changes in the relations between countries, actions of governmental authorities affecting trade and foreign investment, regulations on repatriation of funds, interpretation and application of local laws and regulations, enforceability of intellectual property and contract rights, local labor conditions and regulations, lack of upkeep of public infrastructure, potential political and economic uncertainty, application of exchange controls, nationalization or expropriation, empowerment legislation and policy, corrupt business environments, crime and lack of law enforcement. Such factors could affect our results by causing interruptions to our operations or by increasing the costs of operating in those countries or by limiting our ability to repatriate profits from those countries. The financial risks of operating in developing markets also include risks of illiquidity, inflation (for example, Brazil, Argentina, Turkey and Russia have periodically experienced extremely high rates of inflation), devaluation (see “—Our results of operations are affected by fluctuations in exchange rates.”) (for example, the Brazilian, Argentine, Colombian, Peruvian, Turkish and several African currencies have been devalued frequently during the last several decades), price volatility, currency convertibility and country default.

These various factors could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition. Moreover, the economies of developing countries are often affected by developments in other developing market countries and, accordingly, adverse changes in developing markets elsewhere in the world could have a negative impact on the markets in which we operate. Due to our geographic mix, these factors could affect us more than our competitors with less exposure to developing markets, and any general decline in developing markets as a whole could impact us disproportionately compared to our competitors.

We rely on the reputation of our brands.

Our success depends on our ability to maintain and enhance the image and reputation of our existing products and to develop a favorable image and reputation for new products. The image and reputation of our products may be reduced in the future and concerns about product quality, even when unfounded, could tarnish the image and reputation of our products. An event, or series of events, that materially damages the reputation of one or more of our brands could have an adverse effect on the value of that brand and subsequent revenues from that brand or business. Restoring the image and reputation of our products may be costly and may not be possible.

Moreover, our marketing efforts are subject to restrictions on the permissible advertising style, media and messages used. In a number of countries, for example, television is a prohibited medium for advertising beer and other alcoholic beverage products, and in other countries, television advertising, while permitted, is carefully regulated. Any additional restrictions in such countries, or the introduction of similar restrictions in other countries, may constrain our brand building potential and thus reduce the value of our brands and related revenues.

Negative publicity, perceived health risks and associated government regulation may harm our business.

In recent years, there has been increased public and political attention directed at the alcoholic beverage and food and soft drinks industries. This attention is the result of a rising health and wellbeing trend that is reshaping the entire food and drinks industry and of fiscal concerns as health costs become an increasingly important component of public finances in some markets. In the long term, this trend represents a risk for our business if it results in the social acceptance of our products being negatively altered.

 

10


Table of Contents

The global policy framework shaping the regulatory space for our products is the World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) 2013–2020, in which the harmful use of alcohol is cited as key risk factor for NCDs and governments are requested to take action to reduce it by at least 10% by 2020 from a 2013 base. The definition of harmful use of alcohol, however, was left to be determined by each government according to its national context. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, approved in September 2015, further reinforced this mandate by urging the nations to strengthen the prevention and treatment of harmful use of alcohol.

The World Health Organization has begun the consultation process needed to issue a new global policy framework on NCDs by 2020. As a result, in the next two years, we are likely to experience an increase in the number of publications and studies debating the health risks associated to harmful consumption of alcohol, as advocates who oppose the current regulatory status quo try to shape the public discussions around the new global policy framework.

We may also be subject to laws and regulations aimed at reducing the affordability or availability of beer in some of our markets. Although public health concerns over harmful consumption of alcohol are frequently cited as the rational for governments to increase beer taxation, fiscal needs or the lobbying of other alcohol categories are often also drivers. Additional regulatory restrictions on our business, such as those on opening hours or marketing activities (including the marketing or selling of beer at sporting events), may cause the social acceptability of beer to decline significantly and consumption trends to shift away from it, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Moreover, key brand names are used by us, our subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures, and are licensed to third-party brewers. To the extent we or one of our subsidiaries, associates, joint ventures or licensees are subject to negative publicity, and the negative publicity causes consumers and customers to change their purchasing patterns, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition. As a significant portion of our operations occur in developing and growth markets, there is a greater risk that we may be subject to negative publicity, in particular in relation to environmental issues, labor rights and local work conditions. Negative publicity that materially damages the reputation of one or more of our brands could have an adverse effect on the value of that brand and subsequent revenues from that brand or business, which could adversely impact our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.

Climate change or other environmental concerns, or legal, regulatory or market measures to address climate change or other environmental concerns, may negatively affect our business or operations, including the availability of key production inputs.

There is a growing concern that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may have an adverse impact on global temperatures, weather and precipitation patterns and the frequency and severity of extreme weather and natural disasters. In the event that such climate change has a negative effect on agricultural productivity, we may be subject to decreased availability or less favorable pricing for certain agricultural commodities necessary for our products, such as barley, hops, sugar and corn. Climate change may also subject us to water scarcity and quality risks due to the large amounts of water required to produce our products, including water consumed in the agricultural supply chain. In the event that climate change causes water over-exploitation or has a negative effect on water availability or quality, the price of water may increase in certain areas and certain jurisdictions may enact unfavorable changes to applicable water-related taxes and regulations. Such measures, if adopted, could lead to increased regulatory pressures, production costs or capacity constraints. In addition, public expectations for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions could result in increased energy, transportation and raw material costs and may require us to make additional investments in facilities and equipment due to increased regulatory pressures. As a result, the effects of climate change could have a long-term, material adverse impact on our business and results of operations.

We are required to report greenhouse gas emissions, energy data and other related information to a variety of entities, and to comply with the wider obligations of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme. If we are unable to measure, track and disclose information accurately and in a timely manner, we could be subject to civil penalties for non-compliance in the various European Union member states in which we operate. In addition, the

 

11


Table of Contents

need for us to comply with the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme could result in increased operational costs if we are unable to meet our compliance obligations and exceed our emission allocations. There is also a risk of new environmental regulation in many geographies where we operate, including the European Union, U.S., Mexico and China, among others.

More generally, our operations are subject to environmental regulations by national, state and local agencies, including, in certain cases, regulations that impose liability without regard to fault. These regulations can result in liability that might adversely affect our operations. The environmental regulatory climate in the markets in which we operate is becoming stricter, with a greater emphasis on enforcement. While we have continuously invested in reducing our environmental risks and budgeted for future capital and operating expenditures to maintain compliance with environmental laws and regulations, there can be no assurance that we will not incur a substantial environmental liability or that applicable environmental laws and regulations will not change or become more stringent in the future.

If any of our products is defective or found to contain contaminants, we may be subject to product recalls or other liabilities.

We take precautions to ensure that our beverage products and our associated packaging materials (such as bottles, crowns, cans and other containers) meet accepted food safety and regulatory standards. Such precautions include quality-control programs and various technologies for primary materials, the production process and our final products. We have established procedures to correct issues or concerns that are detected.

In the event that any failure to comply with accepted food safety and regulatory standards (such as a contamination or a defect) does occur in the future, it may lead to business interruptions, product recalls or liability, each of which could have an adverse effect on our business, reputation, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

Although we maintain insurance against certain product liability (but not product recall) risks, we may not be able to enforce our rights in respect of these policies, and, in the event that contamination or a defect occurs, any amounts that we recover may not be sufficient to offset any damage we may suffer, which could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.

We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights.

Our future success depends significantly on our ability to protect our current and future brands and products and to defend our intellectual property rights, including trademarks, patents, domain names, trade secrets and know-how. We have been granted numerous trademark registrations and patents covering our brands and products and have filed, and expect to continue to file, trademark and patent applications seeking to protect newly developed brands and products. We cannot be sure that trademark and patent registrations will be issued with respect to any of our applications. There is also a risk that we could, by omission, fail to renew a trademark or patent on a timely basis or that our competitors will challenge, invalidate or circumvent any existing or future trademarks and patents issued to, or licensed by, us.

Although we have taken appropriate action to protect our portfolio of intellectual property rights (including patent applications, trademark registration and domain names), we cannot be certain that the steps we have taken will be sufficient or that third parties will not infringe upon or misappropriate proprietary rights. Moreover, some of the countries in which we operate offer less effective intellectual property protection than is available in Europe or the United States. If we are unable to protect our proprietary rights against infringement or misappropriation, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition and, in particular, on our ability to develop our business.

 

12


Table of Contents

We rely on key third parties, including key suppliers, and the termination or modification of the arrangements with such third parties could negatively affect our business.

We rely on third-party suppliers for a range of raw materials for our beer and non-beer products, such as malted barley, corn grits, corn syrup, rice, hops, water, flavored concentrate, fruit concentrate, sugar and sweeteners, and for packaging material, such as glass, PET and aluminum bottles, aluminum or steel cans and kegs, labels, plastic crates, metal and plastic closures, folding cartons, cardboard products and plastic films.

We seek to limit our exposure to market fluctuations in the supply of these raw materials by entering into medium- and long-term fixed-price arrangements. We have a limited number of suppliers of aluminum cans and glass bottles. Consolidation of the aluminum can industry and glass bottle industry in certain markets in which we operate has reduced local supply alternatives and increased the risk of disruption to aluminum can and glass bottle supplies. Although we generally have other suppliers of raw materials and packaging materials, the termination of or material change to arrangements with certain key suppliers, disagreements with suppliers as to payment or other terms, or the failure of a key supplier to meet the contractual obligations it owes to us or otherwise deliver materials consistent with current usage would or may require us to make purchases from alternative suppliers, in each case at potentially higher prices than those agreed with that supplier. Additionally, we may be subject to potential reputational damage if one of our suppliers violates applicable laws or regulations. These factors could have a material impact on our production, distribution and sale of beer, other alcoholic beverages and soft drinks and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

A number of our key brand names are both licensed to third-party brewers and used by companies over which we do not have control. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—8. Licensing.” If we are unable to maintain such arrangements on favorable terms, this could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

We monitor brewing quality to ensure our high standards, but, to the extent that one of these key licensed brand names is subject to negative publicity, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

For certain packaging supplies and raw materials, we rely on a small number of important suppliers. In addition, certain of our subsidiaries may purchase nearly all of their key packaging materials from sole suppliers under multi-year contracts. The loss of or temporary discontinuity of supply from any of these suppliers without sufficient time to develop an alternative source could cause us to spend increased amounts on such supplies in the future. If these suppliers became unable to continue to meet our requirements, and we are unable to develop alternative sources of supply, our operations and financial results could be adversely affected.

We could incur significant costs as a result of compliance with, and/or violations of or liabilities under, various regulations that govern our operations.

Our business is highly regulated in many of the countries in which we or our licensed third parties operate. The regulations adopted by the authorities in these countries govern many parts of our operations, including brewing, marketing and advertising (in particular to ensure our advertising is directed to individuals of legal drinking age), consumer promotion s and rebates, environmental protection, transportation, distributor relationships, sales and data privacy. We may be subject to claims that we have not complied with existing laws and regulations, which could result in fines and penalties or loss of operating licenses.

We are also routinely subject to new or modified laws and regulations with which we must comply in order to avoid claims, fines and other penalties, which could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition. For example, we are subject to the General Data Protection Regulation adopted in the European Union in April 2016, which must be fully implemented in all member states by May 2018. Breach of any of these laws or regulations can lead to significant fines and/or damage to our reputation, as well as significantly restrict our ability to deliver on our digital productivity and growth plans.

 

13


Table of Contents

We may also be subject to laws and regulations aimed at reducing the availability of beer and other alcoholic beverage products in some of our markets to address alcohol abuse and other social issues. See “—Negative publicity, perceived health risks and associated government regulation may harm our business.” There can be no assurance that we will not incur material costs or liabilities in connection with compliance with applicable regulatory requirements, or that such regulation will not interfere with our beer, other alcoholic beverage and soft drinks businesses.

For further detail regarding common regulations and restrictions on us, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—11. Regulations Affecting Our Business” and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—A. Key Factors Affecting Results of Operations—Governmental Regulations.”

We are exposed to the risk of litigation.

We are now and may in the future be party to legal proceedings and claims and significant damages may be asserted against us. See “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Financial Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal and Arbitration Proceedings” and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—H. Contractual Obligations and Contingencies—Contingencies” and note 32 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017, for a description of certain material contingencies which we believe are reasonably possible (but not probable) to be realized. Given the inherent uncertainty of litigation, it is possible that we might incur liabilities as a consequence of the proceedings and claims brought against us, including those that are not currently believed by us to be reasonably possible.

Moreover, companies in the alcoholic beverage industry and soft drink industry – including our operations – are, from time to time, exposed to collective suits (class actions) or other litigation relating to alcohol advertising, alcohol abuse problems or health consequences from the excessive consumption of beer, other alcoholic beverages and soft drinks. As an illustration, we and certain other beer and other alcoholic beverage producers from Brazil, Canada, Europe and the United States have been involved in class actions and other litigation seeking damages for, among other things, alleged marketing of alcoholic beverages to underage consumers. If any of these types of litigation were to result in fines, damages or reputational damage to us or our brands, this could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial position. See “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Financial Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal and Arbitration Proceedings.”

Our failure to satisfy our obligations under the Grupo Modelo settlement agreement could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

The settlement agreement we reached with the U.S. Department of Justice in relation to the combination with Grupo Modelo included certain transition services agreements as well as certain distribution guarantees for Constellation Brands, Inc. in the 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia and Guam. Our compliance with our obligations under the settlement agreement is monitored by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Monitoring Trustee appointed by it. Were we to fail to fulfill our obligations under the settlement, whether intentionally or inadvertently, we could be subject to monetary fines. See “Item 10. Additional Information—C. Material Contracts—Grupo Modelo Settlement Agreement.”

Our failure to satisfy our obligations under the SAB settlement agreement could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

We entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice in relation to the combination with SAB on 20 July 2016. As part of this consent decree, we agreed (i) not to acquire control of a distributor if doing so would result in more than 10% of our U.S. annual volume being distributed through majority owned distributorships in the U.S., (ii) not to terminate any wholesalers as a result of the combination with SAB, (iii) to review and modify certain aspects of our U.S. sales programs and policies to ensure that we do not limit the ability and incentives of independent distributors to sell and promote third-party brewers’ products and (iv) to notify the U.S. Department of Justice at least 30 days prior to the consummation of any acquisition of a beer brewer, importer, distributor or brand owner deriving more than USD 7.5 million in annual gross revenue from beer sold for further resale in the United States or from license fees generated by such sales, subject to certain exceptions. The consent decree is awaiting

 

14


Table of Contents

approval by the U.S. federal district court in the District of Columbia. The consent decree will expire ten years after its approval by the U.S. federal district court in the District of Columbia, unless the court grants an extension. Our compliance with our obligations under the settlement agreement is monitored by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Monitoring Trustee appointed by it. Were we to fail to fulfill our obligations under the settlement, whether intentionally or inadvertently, we could be subject to monetary fines. Our obligations under the settlement agreement (in particular the restrictions on our U.S. sales programs and policies) may also adversely impact our U.S. operations.

In other jurisdictions, we were required to make certain divestitures and to fulfill a number of other commitments as a condition to receiving regulatory clearance for the combination with SAB, and we are now in the process of fulfilling these commitments. For more information on commitments related to the combination with SAB, see “—We are exposed to antitrust and competition laws in certain jurisdictions and the risk of changes in such laws or in the interpretation and enforcement of existing antitrust and competition laws. In addition, in connection with our previous acquisitions, various regulatory authorities have previously imposed conditions with which we are required to comply.”

We may be subject to adverse changes in taxation.

Taxation on our products in the countries in which we operate is comprised of different taxes specific to each jurisdiction, such as excise and other indirect taxes (such as value-added tax (“VAT”)). In many jurisdictions, these taxes make up a large proportion of the cost of beer charged to consumers. Increases in excise and other indirect taxes applicable to our products either on an absolute basis or relative to the levels applicable to other beverages tend to adversely affect our revenue or margins, both by reducing overall consumption of our products and by encouraging consumers to switch to other categories of beverages. These increases also adversely affect the affordability of our products and our profitability. In recent years, Russia, Ukraine, Australia, South Africa, Egypt, Singapore, and Argentina among others, increased beer excise taxes.

In Russia, between 2009 and 2016, the beer excise rate increased nearly tenfold—from RUB 3/liter to RUB 20/liter. Similarly, in Ukraine, between 2013 and 2017, the beer excise tax increased 219.5% from UAH 0.87/liter in 2013 to UAH 2.78/liter in January 2017. These tax increases have resulted in significant price increases in both countries, have had a significant impact on our sales of beer in those countries, and may continue to do so. See “—Negative publicity, perceived health risks and associated government regulation may harm our business.”

In the United States, the brewing industry is subject to significant taxation. The U.S. federal government currently levies an excise tax on beer sold for consumption in the United States of USD 16 per barrel (equivalent to approximately 117 liters) for the first six million barrels and USD 18 per barrel thereafter. All states also levy excise and/or sales taxes on alcoholic beverages. From time to time, there are proposals to increase these taxes, and in the future, these taxes could increase. Increases in excise taxes on alcohol could adversely affect our United States business and its profitability.

In addition to excise taxes, additional charges may be levied in relation to tax stamps and other forms of fiscal marking. In the last year we have seen a strong pressure to introduce costly fiscal marking systems in several African markets, Russia and Ukraine. The cost of these marking schemes could adversely affect our businesses in the relevant countries (including their profitability).

Proposals to increase excise or other indirect taxes may result from the current economic climate and may also be influenced by changes in public perceptions regarding the consumption of beer and other alcoholic beverages. To the extent that the effect of the tax reforms described above or other proposed changes to excise and other indirect duties in the countries in which we operate is to increase the total burden of indirect taxation on our products, our results of operations in those countries could be adversely affected.

In addition to excise and other indirect duties, we are subject to income and other taxes in the countries in which we operate. There can be no assurance that the operations of our breweries and other facilities will not become subject to increased taxation by local, national or foreign authorities or that we and our subsidiaries will not become subject to higher corporate income tax rates or to new or modified taxation regulations and requirements.

 

15


Table of Contents

For example, the work being carried out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on base erosion and profit shifting and initiatives at the European Union level (including the anti-tax avoidance directive adopted by the Council of the European Union on 12 July 2016) as a response to increasing globalization of trade and business operations could result in changes in tax treaties, the introduction of new legislation, updates to existing legislation, or changes to regulatory interpretations of existing legislation, any of which could impose additional taxes on businesses. Furthermore, the U.S. tax reform legislation signed on 22 December 2017 (Public Law 115-97) (the “Tax Act”), known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, brings major tax legislation changes into law. While the Tax Act reduces the statutory rate of U.S. federal corporate income tax to 21% and provides an exemption for certain dividends from 10%-owned foreign subsidiaries, the Tax Act expands the tax base by introducing further limitations on deductibility of interest, the imposition of a “base erosion and anti-abuse tax” and the imposition of minimum tax for “global intangible low-tax income,” among other changes which would adversely impact our results of operations. The overall impact of the Tax Act also depends on the future interpretations and regulations that may be issued by U.S. tax authorities, and it is possible that future guidance could adversely impact us.

Additionally, international global climate change negotiations and other international treaties, such as the Montreal Protocol, increasingly encourage countries to introduce regulations and other measures to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon taxes. For more information on environmental regulations and taxation, see “—Climate change or other environmental concerns, or legal, regulatory or market measures to address climate change or other environmental concerns, may negatively affect our business or operations, including the availability of key production inputs.” Any such increases or changes in taxation would tend to adversely impact our results of operations.

We are exposed to antitrust and competition laws in certain jurisdictions and the risk of changes in such laws or in the interpretation and enforcement of existing antitrust and competition laws. In addition, in connection with our previous acquisitions, various regulatory authorities have previously imposed conditions with which we are required to comply.

We are subject to antitrust and competition laws in the jurisdictions in which we operate. Consequently, we may be subject to regulatory scrutiny in certain of these jurisdictions. For instance, in June 2016, the European Commission announced an investigation into alleged abuse of a dominant position by us in Belgium and on 30 November 2017, the European Commission informed us of its preliminary view in a Statement of Objections that these practices are an infringement and invited us to respond, which we shall do. The fact that a Statement of Objections has been issued does not mean that the European Commission has concluded that there is an infringement. See “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Financial Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal and Arbitration Proceedings—Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV—Antitrust Matters” for more information. In addition, our Brazilian listed subsidiary, Ambev, has been subject to monitoring by antitrust authorities in Brazil. There can be no assurance that the introduction of new competition laws in the jurisdictions in which we operate, the interpretation of existing antitrust or competition laws, the enforcement of existing antitrust or competition laws by competent authorities or civil antitrust litigation by private parties, or any agreements with competent antitrust or competition authorities, against us or our subsidiaries, including Ambev, will not affect our business or the businesses of our subsidiaries in the future or have a financial impact.

For example, we had to obtain regulatory clearances for the combination with SAB in over 30 jurisdictions, and certain regulatory authorities imposed conditions in connection therewith, including the United States, South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ecuador, Colombia, El Salvador, Australia and Moldova. The terms and conditions of any authorizations, approvals and/or clearances obtained to date, or other actions taken by a regulatory authority following the closing of the combination with SAB to obtain further authorizations, approvals and/or clearances may require, among other things, the divestiture of our assets or businesses to third parties, changes to our operations, restrictions on our ability to operate in certain jurisdictions, restrictions on the two businesses combining their operations in certain jurisdictions or other commitments to regulatory authorities regarding ongoing operations. Any such actions could have a material adverse effect on our business and diminish substantially the synergies and the advantages which we expect to achieve from the combination with SAB.

In addition, divestitures and other commitments made in order to obtain regulatory approvals, or our failure to comply with such commitments, may have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects. These or any conditions, remedies or changes also reduce the price we are able to obtain for such disposals or imposing additional costs on or limiting our revenues, any of which might have a material adverse effect on us and our results of operations.

 

16


Table of Contents

Our subsidiary Ambev operates a joint venture in Cuba, in which the Government of Cuba is its joint venture partner. Cuba remains subject to comprehensive economic and trade sanctions by the United States and Ambev’s operations in Cuba may adversely affect our reputation and the liquidity and value of our securities.

On 28 January 2014, a subsidiary of our subsidiary Ambev acquired from us a 50% equity interest in Cervecería Bucanero S.A., a Cuban company in the business of producing and selling beer. Consequently, we indirectly own, through our subsidiary Ambev, a 50% equity interest in Cervecería Bucanero S.A. The other 50% equity interest is owned by the Government of Cuba. Cervecería Bucanero S.A. is operated as a joint venture in which Ambev appoints the general manager. Cervecería Bucanero S.A.’s main brands are Bucanero and Cristal, but it also imports and sells in Cuba other brands produced by certain of our non-U.S. subsidiaries. In 2017, Cervecería Bucanero S.A. sold 1.8 million hectoliters of beer, representing about 0.3% of our global volume of 613 million hectoliters for the year. Although Cervecería Bucanero S.A.’s production is primarily sold in Cuba, a small portion of its production is exported to and sold by certain distributors in other countries outside Cuba (but not in the United States).

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the U.S. Commerce Department together administer and enforce broad and comprehensive economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy towards Cuba. Although our operations in Cuba through our subsidiary Ambev are quantitatively immaterial, our overall business reputation may suffer or we may face additional regulatory scrutiny as a result of our activities in Cuba based on the identification of Cuba as a target of U.S. economic and trade sanctions.

In addition, the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (known as the “Helms-Burton Act”) authorizes private lawsuits for damages against anyone who traffics in property confiscated without compensation by the Government of Cuba from persons who at the time were, or have since become, nationals of the United States. Although this section of the Helms-Burton Act is currently suspended by discretionary presidential action, the suspension may not continue in the future. Claims accrue notwithstanding the suspension and may be asserted if the suspension is discontinued. The Helms-Burton Act also includes a section that authorizes the U.S. Department of State to prohibit entry into the United States of non-U.S. persons who traffic in confiscated property, and corporate officers and principals of such persons, and their families. In 2009, we received notice of a claim purporting to be made under the Helms-Burton Act relating to the use of a trademark by Cervecería Bucanero S.A., which is alleged to have been confiscated by the Cuban government and trafficked by us through our former ownership and management of the company. Although we have attempted to review and evaluate the validity of the claim, due to the uncertain underlying circumstances, we are currently unable to express a view as to the validity of such claim or as to the claimants’ standing to pursue it.

We may not be able to recruit or retain key personnel.

In order to develop, support and market our products, we must hire and retain skilled employees with particular expertise. The implementation of our strategic business plans could be undermined by a failure to recruit or retain key personnel or the unexpected loss of senior employees, including in acquired companies.

We face various challenges inherent in the management of a large number of employees across diverse geographical regions. It is not certain that we will be able to attract or retain key employees and successfully manage them, which could disrupt our business and have an unfavorable material effect on our financial position, income from operations and competitive position.

We are exposed to labor strikes and disputes that could lead to a negative impact on our costs and production level.

Our success depends on maintaining good relations with our workforce. In several of our operations, a majority of our workforce is unionized. For instance, a majority of the hourly employees at our breweries in several key countries in different geographies are represented by unions. Our production may be affected by work stoppages

 

17


Table of Contents

or slowdowns as a result of disputes under existing collective labor agreements with labor unions. We may not be able to satisfactorily renegotiate our collective labor agreements when they expire and may face tougher negotiations or higher wage and benefit demands. Furthermore, a work stoppage or slowdown at our facilities could interrupt the transport of raw materials from our suppliers or the transport of our products to our customers. Such disruptions could put a strain on our relationships with suppliers and clients and may have lasting effects on our business even after the disputes with our labor force have been resolved, including as a result of negative publicity.

Our production may also be affected by work stoppages or slowdowns that affect our suppliers, distributors and retail delivery/logistics providers as a result of disputes under existing collective labor agreements with labor unions, in connection with negotiations of new collective labor agreements, as a result of supplier financial distress or for other reasons.

A strike, work stoppage or slowdown within our operations or those of our suppliers, or an interruption or shortage of raw materials for any other reason (including, but not limited to, financial distress, natural disaster or difficulties affecting a supplier) could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, financial condition and ability to operate our business.

Our United States organization has approximately 5,100 hourly brewery workers represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Their compensation and other terms of employment are governed by collective bargaining agreements negotiated between us and the Teamsters, which expire on 28 February 2019.

Information technology failures, including those that affect the privacy and security of sensitive customer and business information, could damage our reputation and we could suffer a loss of revenue, incur substantial additional costs and become subject to litigation and regulatory scrutiny.

We rely on information technology systems to process, transmit and store large amounts of electronic data, including personal information. We engage in ecommerce in nearly two dozen countries, which includes direct sales to some customers. Additionally, a significant portion of the communication between our personnel, customers and suppliers depends on information technology. As with all large systems, our information systems may be vulnerable to a variety of interruptions due to events beyond our control, including, but not limited to, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, telecommunications failures, computer viruses, hackers or other security issues.

We depend on information technology to enable us to operate efficiently and interface with customers, as well as to maintain in-house management and control. We also collect and store non-public personal information that customers provide to purchase products or services, including personal information and payment information. We have entered into various information technology services agreements pursuant to which our information technology is partially outsourced to leading vendors, and we may share information about customers and employees with vendors that assist with certain aspects of our business.

In addition, the concentration of processes in shared services centers means that any technology disruption could impact a large portion of our business within the operating regions served. Any transitions of processes to, from or within shared services centers as well as other transformational projects could lead to business disruptions. If we do not allocate, and effectively manage, the resources necessary to build and sustain the proper technology infrastructure, we could be subject to transaction errors, processing inefficiencies, loss of customers, operations disruptions, or the loss of or damage to intellectual property through a security breach. As with all information technology systems, our system could also be penetrated by outside parties intent on extracting information, corrupting information or disrupting business processes.

We take various actions with the aim of minimizing potential technology disruptions, such as investing in intrusion detection solutions, proceeding with internal and external security assessments, building and implementing business continuity plans and reviewing risk management processes. These protections may be compromised as a result of third-party security breaches, burglaries, cyberattack, errors by employees or employees of third-party vendors, of contractors, misappropriation of data by employees, vendors or unaffiliated third parties, or other irregularities that may result in persons obtaining unauthorized access to company data or otherwise disrupting our business. For example, if outside parties gained access to confidential data or strategic information and appropriated such information or made such information public, this could harm our reputation or our competitive advantage, or could expose us or our customers to a risk of loss or misuse of information. More generally, technology disruptions can have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

 

18


Table of Contents

While we continue to invest in new technology monitoring and cyberattack prevention systems, no commercial or government entity can be entirely free of vulnerability to attack or compromise given how rapidly and unpredictably techniques evolve to obtain unauthorized access or disable or degrade service. During the normal course of business, we have experienced and continue to expect to experience attempted breaches of our technology systems and networks from time to time. In 2017, as in previous years, we experienced several attempted breaches of our technology systems and networks. None of the attempted breaches of our systems (as a result of cyberattacks, security breaches or similar events) had a material impact on our business or operations or resulted in known material unauthorized access to our data or our customers’ data.

Natural and other disasters could disrupt our operations.

Our business and operating results could be negatively impacted by natural, social, technical or physical risks such as a widespread health emergency (or concerns over the possibility of such an emergency), earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, fire, water scarcity, power loss, loss of water supply, telecommunications and information technology system failures, cyberattacks, labor disputes, political instability, military conflict and uncertainties arising from terrorist attacks, including a global economic slowdown, the economic consequences of any military action and associated political instability.

Our insurance coverage may not be sufficient.

We purchase insurance for director and officer liability and other coverage where required by law or contract or where considered to be in our best interest. In accordance with the co-operation agreement entered into with SAB (as amended from time to time, the “Co-operation Agreement”), we have also procured the provision of directors’ and officers’ insurance for former directors and officers of SAB for a period of six years following the completion of the combination with SAB. Even though we maintain these insurance policies, we self-insure most of our insurable risk. Should an uninsured loss or a loss in excess of insured limits occur, this could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.

The audit report included in this annual report is prepared by an auditor who is not inspected by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and, as such, you are deprived of the benefits of such inspection.

Auditors of companies that are registered with the SEC and traded publicly in the United States, including our independent registered public accounting firm, must be registered with the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (the “PCAOB”) and are required by the laws of the United States to undergo regular inspections by the PCAOB to assess their compliance with the laws of the United States and professional standards. Because our auditors are located in Belgium, a jurisdiction where the PCAOB is currently unable to conduct inspections without the approval of the Belgian authorities, our auditors are not currently inspected by the PCAOB.

This lack of PCAOB inspections in Belgium prevents the PCAOB from regularly evaluating audits and quality-control procedures of any auditors operating in Belgium, including our auditors. As a result, investors may be deprived of the benefits of PCAOB inspections.

The inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of auditors in Belgium makes it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our auditor’s audit procedures or quality-control procedures as compared to auditors outside of Belgium that are subject to PCAOB inspections.

 

19


Table of Contents

We may not be able to realize all of the anticipated benefits and synergies of the combination with SAB, including as a result of difficulty in integrating the businesses of the companies involved, and any such benefits and synergies will be offset by the significant transaction fees and other costs we incurred in connection with the combination with SAB.

Achieving the advantages of the combination with SAB depends partly on the rapid and efficient combination of our activities with SAB, two companies of considerable size that functioned independently and were incorporated in different countries, with geographically dispersed operations, and with different business cultures and compensation structures.

The integration process continues to involve inherent costs and uncertainties. These uncertainties are exacerbated because SAB was active in new or developing markets in which former AB InBev did not have significant operations, and because former AB InBev had little opportunity to perform detailed due diligence on SAB prior to the announcement of the combination with SAB. We may face increased exposure to certain risks as a result of the combination with SAB. For example, SAB had entered into important strategic partnerships in a number of Eurasian and African countries. We may face challenges in continuing to develop collaborative relationships with these partners in order to ensure that decisions are taken in such partnerships which promote our strategic and business objectives.

Furthermore, there is no assurance that the combination with SAB will achieve the benefits we anticipate from the integration. We believe that the consideration paid was justified, in part, by the procurement and engineering savings, brewery and distribution efficiency gains, best practice sharing and other cost savings, synergies and benefits that we expect to achieve by combining our operations with SAB’s operations. However, these expected savings, gains, synergies and other benefits may not be achieved, and the assumptions upon which we determined the consideration paid to the former SAB shareholders in connection with the combination with SAB may prove to be incorrect. The implementation of the combination with SAB and the successful integration of SAB’s operations also require a significant amount of management time and, thus, may affect or impair management’s ability to implement the integration of the businesses effectively.

In addition, we have incurred and may continue to incur significant transaction fees and other costs associated with the combination with SAB. These fees and costs are substantial and include financing, financial advisory, legal and accounting fees and expenses. In addition, we may face additional unanticipated costs as a result of the integration, which would offset any realized synergy benefits resulting from the combination with SAB.

Finally, the agreement which we have entered into with Altria Group Inc. (“Altria”), pursuant to which we agreed to provide assistance and co-operation and to give certain representations, indemnities and undertakings to Altria in relation to certain matters relevant to Altria under U.S. tax legislation (as amended from time to time, the “Tax Matters Agreement”), imposes some limits on our ability to effect some reorganizations after the completion of the combination with SAB, which may limit our capacity to integrate SAB’s operations. See “Item 10. Additional Information—C. Material Contracts—Material Contracts Related to the Acquisition of SAB—Tax Matters Agreement” for more information.

Although the cost savings and other synergies contemplated by the combination with SAB are significant, there can be no assurance that we will realize these benefits in the time expected, or at all. Any failures, material delays or unexpected costs of the integration process could therefore have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

The uncertainties about the effects of the combination with SAB could materially and adversely affect our businesses and operations.

Uncertainty regarding the effect of the combination with SAB could cause disruptions to our businesses. Customers, distributors, other business partners and other parties that have business relationships with us may defer the consummation of other transactions or other decisions concerning our businesses, or seek to change existing business relationships. For example, on 4 October 2017, we announced the completion of the transition of our stake in Africa’s largest bottler, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (Pty) Ltd (“CCBA”) to The Coca-Cola Company pursuant to SAB’s prior contractual arrangements with The Coca-Cola Company. In addition, key employees of either former

 

20


Table of Contents

AB InBev or the SAB Group could leave their employment because of the uncertainties about their roles in the AB InBev Group or because of a general desire not to remain with the AB InBev Group. Such uncertainties and disruptions related to the combination with SAB could disrupt our business and have an unfavorable material effect on our financial position, our income from operations and our competitive position. Our size, contractual limitations we are subject to and our position in the markets in which we operate may decrease our ability to successfully carry out further acquisitions and business integrations.

In the past, we have made acquisitions of, investments in and joint ventures and similar arrangements with other companies and businesses. Much of our growth in recent years is attributable to such transactions, including, in addition to the combination with SAB, the combination of Interbrew S.A. and Ambev in 2004, the combination of InBev and Anheuser-Busch Companies in 2008 and the combination of AB InBev and Grupo Modelo in 2013.

We may be unsuccessful in the implementation of future acquisitions, investments or joint ventures or alliances.

We will need to identify suitable acquisition targets and agree on the terms with them if we are to make further acquisitions. Our size, contractual limitations to which we are subject and our position in the markets in which we operate may make it harder to identify suitable targets, including because it may be harder for us to obtain regulatory approval for future transactions. If appropriate opportunities do become available, we may seek to acquire or invest in other businesses; however, any future acquisition may pose regulatory, antitrust and other risks.

In addition, after completion of any transaction in the future, we may be required to integrate the acquired companies, businesses or operations into our existing operations. Such transactions may also involve the assumption of certain actual or potential, known or unknown liabilities, which may have a potential impact on our financial risk profile. These risks and limitations may limit our ability to implement our global strategy and our ability to achieve future business growth.

An impairment of goodwill or other intangible assets would adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

We have previously recognized significant goodwill on our balance sheet through acquisitions. For example, as a result of the combination with Grupo Modelo in 2013, we recognized USD 19.6 billion of goodwill on our balance sheet and recorded several brands from the Grupo Modelo business (including brands in the Corona brand family, among others) as intangible assets with indefinite useful lives with a fair value of USD 4.7 billion. Similarly, as a result of the 2008 Anheuser-Busch Companies acquisition, we recognized USD 32.9 billion of goodwill on our balance sheet and recorded several brands from the Anheuser-Busch Companies business (including brands in the Budweiser brand family, among others) as intangible assets with indefinite useful lives with a fair value of USD 21.4 billion.

Additionally, upon completion of the combination with SAB, we recognized USD 72.4 billion of incremental goodwill on our balance sheet.

Our accounting policy considers brands and distribution rights for our own products as intangible assets with indefinite useful lives, which are tested for impairment on an annual basis (or more often if an event or circumstance indicates that an impairment loss may have been incurred) and not amortized. After the completion of the combination with SAB, we recorded brands and other intangibles from the SAB business as intangible assets with indefinite useful lives, with a fair value of USD 15.0 billion.

As of 31 December 2017, our goodwill amounted to USD 140.9 billion and intangible assets with indefinite useful lives amounted to USD 43.6 billion. If the continuing integration of our businesses with SAB’s businesses meets with unexpected difficulties or if the combined business does not develop as expected, impairment charges may be incurred in the future that could be significant and that could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

 

21


Table of Contents

We may be unable to influence our associates in which we have minority investments.

A portion of our global portfolio consists of associates in new or developing markets, including investments where we may have a lesser degree of control over the business operations. For example, through our investment in the beverage operations of Société des Brasseries et Glacières Internationales and B.I.H. Brasseries Internationales Holding Limited we have exposure to a number of countries in Africa, and through our investment in Anadolu Efes, we have exposure to Turkey and countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

We face several challenges inherent to these various culturally and geographically diverse business interests. Although we work with our associates on the implementation of appropriate processes and controls, we also face additional risks and uncertainties with respect to these minority investments because we may be dependent on systems, controls and personnel that are not under our control, such as the risk that our associates may violate applicable laws and regulations, which could have an adverse effect on our business, reputation, results of operations and financial condition. For more information, see “—If we do not successfully comply with applicable anti-corruption laws, export control regulations and trade restrictions, we could become subject to fines, penalties or other regulatory sanctions, as well as to adverse press coverage, which could cause our reputation, our sales or our profitability to suffer.”

Risks Related to Our Ordinary Shares and American Depositary Shares

The market price of our Ordinary Shares and ADSs may be volatile.

The market price of our Ordinary Shares and ADSs may be volatile as a result of various factors, many of which are beyond our control. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

    market expectations for our financial performance;

 

    actual or anticipated fluctuations in our results of operations and financial condition;

 

    changes in the estimates of our results of operations by securities analysts;

 

    investor perception of the impact of the combination with SAB on us and our shareholders;

 

    the conversion of Restricted Shares into Ordinary Shares, the Restricted Shares becoming so convertible on 10 October 2021, subject to certain limited exceptions (see “Item 10—Additional Information—B. Memorandum and Articles of Association and Other Share Information—Form and Transferability of Our Shares—Restricted Shares—Conversion into Ordinary Shares”);

 

    potential or actual sales of blocks of our Ordinary Shares or ADSs in the market by any shareholder or short selling of our Ordinary Shares or ADSs. Any such transaction could occur at any time or from time to time, with or without notice;

 

    the entry of new competitors or new products in the markets in which we operate;

 

    volatility in the market as a whole or investor perception of the beverage industry or of our competitors; and

 

    the occurrence of any of the matters discussed in the risk factors mentioned in this section.

The market price of our Ordinary Shares and ADSs may be adversely affected by any of the preceding or other factors regardless of our actual results of operations and financial condition.

 

22


Table of Contents

Our largest shareholder may use its significant interest to take actions not supported by our other shareholders.

As of 31 December 2017, our largest shareholder, Stichting Anheuser-Busch InBev (the “Stichting”), owned 34.29% of our voting rights (and the Stichting and certain other entities acting in concert with it (within the meaning of the Belgian Law of 1 April 2007 on public takeover bids and/or the Belgian Law of 2 May 2007 on the disclosure of significant holdings in listed companies) held, in aggregate, 43.84% of our voting rights), based on the number of shares outstanding on 31 December 2017, excluding the 85,541,785 treasury shares held by us and our subsidiaries, Brandbrew S.A., Brandbev S.à.R.L. and Mexbrew S.à.R.L. (see “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions—A. Major Shareholders”). In accordance with our articles of association, the Stichting has the ability to effectively control the election of a majority of our board of directors, as a result of which, under Belgian law, it has control of us. It is also able to have a significant influence on the outcome of corporate actions requiring shareholder approval, including dividend policy, mergers, share capital increases, going private transactions and other extraordinary items. See “Item 10. Additional Information—B. Memorandum and Articles of Association and Other Share Information—Description of the Rights and Benefits Attached to Our Shares” for further information in this respect.

The interests and time horizons of the Stichting may differ from those of other shareholders. As a result of its influence on our business, the Stichting could prevent us from making certain decisions or taking certain actions that would protect the interests of our other shareholders. For example, this concentration of ownership may delay or prevent a change of control of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, even in the event that this change of control may benefit other shareholders generally. Similarly, the Stichting could prevent us from taking certain actions that would dilute its percentage interest in our shares, even if such actions would generally be beneficial to us and/or to other shareholders. These and other factors related to the Stichting’s holding of a significant interest in our shares may reduce the liquidity of our shares and ADSs and their attractiveness to investors.

We may be unable to pay dividends.

As a general matter, we cannot guarantee that we will pay dividends in the future. The payment of dividends will depend on factors such as our business outlook, cash flow requirements and financial performance, the state of the market and the general economic climate and other factors, including tax and other regulatory considerations. In particular, in light of the increased debt that resulted from completion of the combination with SAB, deleveraging remains a priority and may restrict the amount of dividends we are able to pay. In addition, we must, under Belgian law and our articles of association, before we proceed with any dividend payment, allocate an amount equal to 5% of our annual net profit on an unconsolidated basis to a legal reserve in our unconsolidated financial statements until the reserve reaches 10% of our share capital, in accordance with Belgian accounting principles.

Fluctuations in the exchange rate between the euro, the South African rand, the Mexican peso and the U.S. dollar may increase the risk of holding our ADSs and Ordinary Shares.

Our Ordinary Shares currently trade on Euronext Brussels in euros and we have secondary listings of our shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in South African rand and on the Mexican Stock Exchange (Bolsa Mexicana de Valores) in Mexican pesos. Our ADSs trade on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) in U.S. dollars. Fluctuations in the exchange rate between the euro, the South African rand, the Mexican peso and the U.S. dollar may result in temporary differences between the value of our Ordinary Shares trading in different currencies and between the value of our Ordinary Shares and ADSs, which may result in heavy trading by investors seeking to exploit such differences. Similarly, uncertainty over fiscal and budgetary challenges in the United States, Mexico, South Africa and/or Europe may negatively impact global economic conditions, and could trigger sharply increased trading and consequent market fluctuations, which would increase the volatility of, and may have an adverse effect upon, the price of our Ordinary Shares or ADSs.

In addition, as a result of fluctuations in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar, the euro, the South African rand and the Mexican peso, the U.S. dollar equivalent of the proceeds that a holder of our ADSs would receive upon the sale in Belgium, South Africa or Mexico of any shares withdrawn from the American Depositary Receipt (“ADR”) depositary and the U.S. dollar equivalent of any cash dividends paid in euros on our Ordinary Shares represented by the ADSs could also decline.

 

23


Table of Contents

Future equity issuances may dilute the holdings of current shareholders or ADS holders and could materially affect the market price of our Ordinary Shares or ADSs.

We may in the future decide to offer additional equity to raise capital or for other purposes, in compliance with applicable Belgian legislation. Any such additional offering could reduce the proportionate ownership and voting interests of holders of our Ordinary Shares and ADSs, as well as our earnings per share or ADS and net asset value per share or ADS, and any offerings by us or our main shareholders could have an adverse effect on the market price of our Ordinary Shares and ADSs.

We entered into a registration rights agreement requiring us to register for resale under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), all registrable shares held by the holders of Restricted Shares (the “Restricted Shareholders”) no earlier than five years after completion of the combination with SAB, at which point the Restricted Shares will become eligible for conversion into Ordinary Shares at the option of the Restricted Shareholder. As of the closing of the combination with SAB, Restricted Shares represented 16.14% of our outstanding share capital. Although the Restricted Shares are generally subject to certain holdback and suspension periods until 21 October 2021, the Restricted Shares, once they are converted to Ordinary Shares, are not subject to a “lock-up” or similar restriction under the registration rights agreement. Accordingly, sales of large numbers of Ordinary Shares may be made upon registration of such shares with the SEC in accordance with the terms of the registration rights agreement. Registration and sales of our Ordinary Shares effectuated pursuant to the registration rights agreement will increase the number of shares being sold in the public market and may increase the volatility of the price of our Ordinary Shares and ADSs.

Investors may suffer dilution if they are not able to participate in equity offerings, and our ADS holders may not receive any value for rights that we may grant.

Our constitutional documents provide for preference rights to be granted to our existing shareholders unless such rights are disapplied by resolution of our shareholders’ meeting or the Board of Directors. Our shareholders’ meeting or our Board of Directors may disapply such rights in future equity offerings, while no preference rights apply to capital increases through contributions in kind. In addition, certain shareholders (including shareholders resident in, or citizens of, certain jurisdictions, such as the United States, Australia, Canada and Japan) may not be entitled to exercise such rights even if they are not disapplied unless the rights and related shares are registered or qualified for sale under the relevant legislative or regulatory framework. In particular, there can be no assurance that we will be able to establish an exemption from registration under the Securities Act and we are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to any such preferential subscription rights or underlying securities or to endeavor to have a registration statement declared effective under the Securities Act (other than as set out in the Registration Rights Agreement) (see “Item 10. Additional Information—C. Material Contracts—Material Contracts Related to the Acquisition of SAB” for more information on the Registration Rights Agreement). As a result, there is the risk that investors may suffer dilution of their shareholding should they not be permitted to participate in preference right equity or other offerings that we may conduct in the future.

If rights are granted to our shareholders, but the ADR depositary is unable to sell rights corresponding to shares represented by ADSs that are not exercised by, or distributed to, our ADS holders, or if the sale of such rights is not lawful or reasonably practicable, the ADR depositary will allow the rights to lapse, in which case ADS holders will receive no value for such rights.

ADS holders may not be able to exercise their right to vote the shares underlying our ADSs.

Holders of ADSs may be entitled to exercise voting rights with respect to the Ordinary Shares represented by our ADSs only in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement (as amended from time to time, the “Deposit Agreement”), dated 30 June 2009, as amended from time to time, among former AB InBev, The Bank of New York Mellon, as depositary, and the owners and holders of American Depositary Shares from time to time under the Deposit Agreement, to which we are successor-in-interest. The Deposit Agreement provides that, upon receipt of a notice of any meeting of holders of our Ordinary Shares, the depositary will, if we so request, distribute

 

24


Table of Contents

to the ADS holders a notice which shall contain (i) such information as is contained in the notice of the meeting sent by us, (ii) a statement that the ADS holder as of the specified record date shall be entitled to instruct the ADR depositary as to the exercise of voting rights and (iii) a statement as to the manner in which instructions may be given by the holders.

Under the Deposit Agreement, holders of ADSs may instruct the depositary to vote the shares underlying their ADSs, but they will only receive the notice described above if we ask the depositary to ask for their instructions. Otherwise, ADS holders will not be able to exercise their right to vote, unless they withdraw the Ordinary Shares underlying the ADSs they hold. However, ADS holders may not know about the meeting far enough in advance to withdraw those shares. If we ask for the instructions of ADS holders, the depositary, upon timely notice from us, will notify ADS holders of the upcoming vote and arrange to deliver our voting materials to them. We cannot guarantee ADS holders that they will receive the voting materials in time to ensure that they can instruct the depositary to vote their shares. In addition, the depositary and its agents are not responsible for failing to carry out voting instructions or for the manner of carrying out voting instructions. This means that ADS holders may not be able to exercise their right to vote, and there may be nothing they can do if the shares underlying their ADSs are not voted as requested.

ADS holders may be subject to limitations on the transfer of their ADSs or the withdrawal of the underlying Ordinary Shares from the deposit facility.

ADSs are transferable on the books of the ADR depositary. However, the ADR depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of ADSs generally when the books of the depositary are closed or if such action is deemed necessary or advisable by the depositary or by us because of any requirement of law or of any government or governmental body or commission or under any provision of the Deposit Agreement. Moreover, the surrender of ADSs and withdrawal of Ordinary Shares may be suspended subject to the payment of fees, taxes and similar charges or if we direct the depositary at any time to cease new issuances and withdrawals of our Ordinary Shares during periods specified by us in connection with shareholders’ meetings, the payment of dividends or as otherwise reasonably necessary for compliance with any applicable laws or government regulations.

Shareholders may not enjoy under Belgian corporate law and our articles of association certain of the rights and protections generally afforded to shareholders of U.S. companies under U.S. federal and state laws and the NYSE rules.

We are a public limited liability company incorporated under the laws of Belgium. Shareholders may not enjoy under Belgian corporate law and our articles of association certain of the rights and protections generally afforded to shareholders of U.S. companies under U.S. federal and state laws and the NYSE rules. The rights provided to our shareholders under Belgian corporate law and our articles of association differ in certain respects from the rights that you would typically enjoy as a shareholder of a U.S. company under applicable U.S. federal and/or state laws. In general, the Belgian Corporate Governance Code is a code of best practice applying to Belgian listed companies on a non-binding basis. The Belgian Corporate Governance Code applies a “comply or explain” approach, that is, companies may depart from the Belgian Corporate Governance Code’s provisions if, as required by law, they give a reasoned explanation of the reasons for doing so.

We rely on a provision in the NYSE Listed Company Manual that allows us to follow Belgian corporate law and the Belgian Corporate Governance Code with regard to certain aspects of corporate governance. This allows us to follow certain corporate governance practices that differ in significant respects from the corporate governance requirements applicable to U.S. companies listed on the NYSE. See “Item 16G. Corporate Governance” for additional information on these differences. In particular, the NYSE rules require a majority of the directors of a listed U.S. company to be independent while, in Belgium, only three directors need be independent. Our board currently comprises three independent directors and twelve directors not deemed to be “independent” under the NYSE listing standards. See “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees—A. Directors and Senior Management—Board of Directors.” The NYSE rules further require that each of the nomination, compensation and audit committees of a listed U.S. company be comprised entirely of independent directors. However, the Belgian Corporate Governance Code recommends only that a majority of the directors on each of these committees meet the technical requirements for independence under Belgian corporate law. All voting members of our Audit Committee are independent for purposes of Rule 10A-3 under the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the

 

25


Table of Contents

Exchange Act”). Our Audit Committee, Nomination Committee and Remuneration Committee have members who would not be considered independent under NYSE rules, and therefore our Audit Committee, Nomination Committee and Remuneration Committee would not be in compliance with the NYSE Corporate Governance Standards for domestic issuers in respect of the independence of these committees. However, our Audit Committee, Nomination Committee and Remuneration Committee are composed exclusively of non-executive directors who are independent of management and whom we consider to be free of any business or other relationship which could materially interfere with the exercise of their independent judgment. See “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees—C. Board Practices —Information about Our Committees—General.”

Under Belgian corporate law, other than certain limited information that we must make public, our shareholders may not ask for an inspection of our corporate records, while under Delaware corporate law any shareholder, irrespective of the size of his or her shareholdings, may do so. Shareholders of a Belgian corporation are also unable to initiate a derivative action, a remedy typically available to shareholders of U.S. companies, in order to enforce a right of AB InBev, in case we fail to enforce such right ourselves, other than in certain cases of director liability under limited circumstances. In addition, a majority of our shareholders may release a director from any claim of liability we may have, including if he or she has acted in bad faith or has breached his or her duty of loyalty, provided, in some cases, that the relevant acts were specifically mentioned in the convening notice to the shareholders’ meeting deliberating on the discharge. In contrast, most U.S. federal and state laws prohibit a company or its shareholders from releasing a director from liability altogether if he or she has acted in bad faith or has breached his or her duty of loyalty to the company. Finally, Belgian corporate law does not provide any form of appraisal rights in the case of a business combination.

For additional information on these and other aspects of Belgian corporate law and our articles of association, see “Item 10. Additional Information—B. Memorandum and Articles of Association and Other Share Information.” As a result of these differences between Belgian corporate law and our articles of association, on the one hand, and U.S. federal and state laws, on the other hand, in certain instances, you could receive less protection as a shareholder of our company than you would as a shareholder of a U.S. company.

As a “foreign private issuer” in the United States, we are exempt from a number of rules under U.S. securities laws and are permitted to file less information with the SEC.

As a “foreign private issuer,” we are exempt from certain rules under the Exchange Act that impose certain disclosure obligations and procedural requirements for proxy solicitations under Section 14 of the Exchange Act. In addition, our officers, directors and principal shareholders are exempt from the reporting and “short-swing” profit recovery provisions under Section 16 of the Exchange Act. Moreover, we are not required to file periodic reports and financial statements with the SEC as frequently or as promptly as U.S. companies whose securities are registered under the Exchange Act. Accordingly, there may be less publicly available information concerning us than there is for U.S. public companies.

It may be difficult for investors outside Belgium to serve process on or enforce foreign judgments against us.

We are a Belgian public limited liability company. Certain of the members of our Board of Directors and Executive Board of Management and certain of the persons named herein are non-residents of the United States. All or a substantial portion of the assets of such non-resident persons and certain of our assets are located outside the United States. As a result, it may not be possible for investors to effect service of process upon such persons or on us or to enforce against them or us a judgment obtained in U.S. courts. Original actions or actions for the enforcement of judgments of U.S. courts relating to the civil liability provisions of the federal or state securities laws of the United States are not directly enforceable in Belgium. The United States and Belgium do not currently have a multilateral or bilateral treaty providing for reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments, other than arbitral awards, in civil and commercial matters. In order for a final judgment for the payment of money rendered by U.S. courts based on civil liability to produce any effect on Belgian soil, it is accordingly required that this judgment be recognized or be declared enforceable by a Belgian court pursuant to the relevant provisions of the 2004 Belgian Code of Private International Law. Recognition or enforcement does not imply a review of the merits of the case and is irrespective of any reciprocity requirement. A U.S. judgment will, however, not be recognized or declared enforceable in Belgium if it infringes upon one or more of the grounds for refusal which are exhaustively listed in

 

26


Table of Contents

Article 25 of the Belgian Code of Private International Law. In addition to recognition or enforcement, a judgment by a federal or state court in the United States against us may also serve as evidence in a similar action in a Belgian court if it meets the conditions required for the authenticity of judgments according to the law of the state where it was rendered.

 

ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

 

A. HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMPANY

We are the world’s largest brewer by volume and one of the world’s top five consumer products companies by revenue. As a consumer-focused, insights-driven company, we produce, market, distribute and sell a diversified portfolio of well over 500 beer and other malt beverage brands. These include brands with significant international distribution, such as Budweiser, Corona (except in the United States), Stella Artois, Beck’s, Leffe, Hoegaarden, Castle Lager (except in the United States), Castle Lite (except in the United States), and Redd’s (except in the United States); and brands primarily distributed to local markets such as Bud Light and Michelob Ultra in the United States; Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Negra Modelo, Victoria and Pacifico in Mexico; Skol, Brahma and Antarctica in Brazil; Aguila and Poker in Colombia; Cristal and Pilsen Callao in Peru; Quilmes in Argentina; Jupiler in Belgium and the Netherlands; Franziskaner in Germany; Carling Black Label and Hansa Pilsener in South Africa; Hero in Nigeria; Safari and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania; Harbin and Sedrin in China; Cass in South Korea; and Victoria Bitter and Carlton Draught in Australia. We also produce and distribute soft drinks, particularly in Central and South America and Africa, and near beer products, such as Lime-A-Rita and other Rita family products in the United States and Mexico; MixxTail in Argentina and other countries; and Skol Beats in Brazil.

Our dedication to quality goes back to a brewing tradition of more than 600 years with the Den Hoorn brewery in Leuven, Belgium, as well as the pioneering spirit of the Anheuser & Co. brewery, with origins in St. Louis, U.S.A. since 1852, and the history of the South African Breweries with its origins in Johannesburg in 1895. As of 31 December 2017, we employed nearly 200,000 people, with operations in 50 countries across the world. We report our results under the following six regions: North America, Latin America West, Latin America North, Latin America South, EMEA and Asia Pacific. We also report the results of Global Export and Holding Companies, which includes our global headquarters and the export businesses, which have not been allocated to the regions. As a result, we have a global footprint with a balanced exposure to developed and developing markets and production facilities spread across our geographic regions.

Our 2017 volumes (beer and non-beer) were 613 million hectoliters and our revenue amounted to USD 56.4 billion.

Registration and Main Corporate Details

Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV was incorporated on 3 March 2016 for an unlimited duration under the laws of Belgium under the original name Newbelco SA/NV, and is the successor entity to former AB InBev, which was incorporated on 2 August 1977 for an unlimited duration under the laws of Belgium under the original name BEMES. It has the legal form of a public limited liability company (naamloze vennootschap/société anonyme). Its registered office is located at Grand-Place/Grote Markt 1, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, and it is registered with the Register of Legal Entities of Brussels under the number 0417.497.106. Our global headquarters are located at Brouwerijplein 1, 3000 Leuven, Belgium (tel.: +32 16 27 61 11). Our agent in the United States is Anheuser-Busch InBev Services LLC, 250 Park Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10177.

We are a publicly traded company, with our primary listing on Euronext Brussels under the symbol ABI. We also have secondary listings on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange under the symbol ANH and the Mexican Stock Exchange under the symbol ANB. ADSs representing rights to receive our Ordinary Shares are listed and trade on the NYSE under the symbol BUD.

 

27


Table of Contents

History and Development of the Company

Our dedication to quality goes back to a brewing tradition of more than 600 years and the Den Hoorn brewery in Leuven, Belgium. In 1717, Sébastien Artois, master brewer of Den Hoorn, took over the brewery and renamed it Sébastien Artois. In 1987, the two largest breweries in Belgium merged: Brouwerijen Artois NV, located in Leuven, and Brasserie Piedboeuf SA, founded in 1853 and located in Jupille, resulting in the formation of Interbrew S.A. Interbrew operated as a family-owned business until December 2000, the time of its initial public offering on Euronext Brussels. The period since the listing of Interbrew on Euronext Brussels has been marked by increasing geographical diversification.

Since 2000, we have completed the following major combinations, acquisitions and sales:

 

    In 2002, Interbrew acquired Beck’s for 3.5 billion German marks.

 

    In 2004, Interbrew combined with Ambev, a Brazilian company originally formed by the combination of Brahma and Antarctica in 1999-2000, resulting in the creation of InBev. Ambev is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and on the São Paulo Stock Exchange. As of 31 December 2017, we had a 61.9% voting and economic interest in Ambev.

 

    In July 2008, InBev combined with Anheuser-Busch Companies by way of an offer for USD 54.8 billion, as a result of which we changed our name to Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV.

 

    In July 2009, we completed the sale of our South Korean subsidiary, Oriental Brewery, to an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (“KKR”) for USD 1.8 billion. We retained the right, but not the obligation, to reacquire Oriental Brewery five years after the closing of the transaction based on predetermined financial terms. In 2014, we completed the reacquisition of Oriental Brewery from KKR and Affinity Equity Partners.

 

    In 2009, we completed the sale of our operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia to CVC Capital Partners for an enterprise value of USD 2.2 billion.

 

    In 2013, we announced the completion of our combination with Grupo Modelo in a transaction valued at USD 20.1 billion, following which we owned approximately 95% of Grupo Modelo’s outstanding shares.

 

    In 2013, in another transaction related to the combination with Grupo Modelo, Grupo Modelo completed the sale of its U.S. business to Constellation Brands, Inc. for approximately USD 4.75 billion, in aggregate. The transaction included the sale of Grupo Modelo’s Piedras Negras brewery, Grupo Modelo’s 50% stake in Crown Imports and perpetual rights to certain of Grupo Modelo’s beer brands in the United States. As a consequence, we have granted Constellation Brands, Inc. the exclusive and perpetual right to market and sell Corona and certain other Grupo Modelo beer brands in the 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia and Guam. In December 2016, we also completed the sale of our brewery plant located in Obregón, Sonora, México to Constellation Brands, Inc. for a sale price of approximately USD 600 million.

 

    In 2015, we acquired all outstanding Grupo Modelo shares held by third parties through a mandatory tender offer and, by August 2015, Grupo Modelo was transformed from a publicly listed Mexican company into a Mexican limited liability company (sociedad de responsabilidad limitada) and became 100% owned by us.

 

    On 7 October 2016, we acquired control of SAB and on 10 October 2016, we completed the business combination. The combination with SAB was valued at a gross purchase consideration of USD 114 billion. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—A. Key Factors Affecting Results of Operations—Acquisitions, Divestitures and Other Structural Changes—Acquisition of SAB” for more information on the combination with SAB.

 

28


Table of Contents
    On 9 August 2017, we announced the intended combination of our Russia and Ukraine businesses with those of Anadolu Efes to create a new company, which will be called AB InBev Efes. Until the completion of this transaction, our Russia and Ukraine businesses will remain separate and continue business as usual. Following the closing of this transaction, the newly combined business will be fully consolidated into Anadolu Efes. As a result, we will stop consolidating these operations and account for our investment in AB InBev Efes under the equity method.

In connection with the combination with SAB, we transferred SAB’s business in Panama to Ambev in exchange for Ambev’s businesses in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. We have also completed or announced certain divestitures, in each case with the goal of proactively addressing potential regulatory considerations regarding the combination with SAB, including the following:

 

    On 11 October 2016, we completed the sale of SAB’s entire interest in MillerCoors LLC (a joint venture in the U.S. and Puerto Rico between Molson Coors Brewing Company and SAB), together with rights to the Miller brand globally, to Molson Coors Brewing Company for USD 12 billion, subject to a downward purchase price adjustment.

 

    On 11 October 2016, we completed the sale of SAB’s Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime brand families and their associated businesses in Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and internationally (excluding certain rights in the United States) to Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd., in a transaction valued at EUR 2,550 million on a debt free/cash-free basis.

 

    On 11 October 2016, we completed the sale of SAB’s 49% interest in CR Snow to China Resources Beer (Holdings) Co. Ltd. for USD 1.6 billion.

 

    On 31 March 2017, we completed the sale of SAB’s Central and Eastern European businesses in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania to Asahi for EUR 7.3 billion.

 

    On 12 April 2017, we completed the sale of our interest in Distell Group Limited (comprised of 58,674,000 ordinary shares or approximately 26.4% of Distell’s issued share capital) to Public Investment Corporation Limited, acting on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund.

 

    On 4 October 2017, we completed the transition of our 54.5% equity stake in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (Pty) Ltd to The Coca-Cola Company for USD 3.15 billion, after customary adjustments. The companies continue to work on the terms and conditions for the agreements with respect to certain markets in Africa and Central America.

Furthermore, during 2016 and 2017, we performed a series of other investments and disposals. For further details, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—G. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Investments and Disposals.”

B. BUSINESS OVERVIEW

 

1. STRENGTHS AND STRATEGY

Strengths

We are building a company to last, brewing beer and building brands that will continue to bring people together for the next 100 years and beyond. As a global family of local companies, we unite nearly 200,000 exceptional people in 50 countries and more than 500

 

29


Table of Contents

brands around a passion for brewing the highest quality beer. We believe that the following key strengths will drive the realization of our strategic goals and reinforce our competitive position in the marketplace:

Global platform with strong market positions in key markets to grow the category

We are a truly global brewer, positioned to serve the evolving needs of consumers worldwide. Our portfolio of more than 500 brands means we have beers for every type of occasion and our iconic brands bring people together across generations and communities.

We hold leading positions in the majority of our key markets, based on strong brands and the benefits of scale. We believe this enables us to invest significant sales and marketing resources in our brands, achieve attractive sourcing terms, generate cost savings through centralization and operate under a lean cost structure. Our global footprint provides us with a strong platform to grow our global and multi-country brands, while developing local brands tailored to regional tastes and trends. We benefit from a global distribution network which, depending on the location, is either owned by us or is based on strong partnerships with wholesalers and local distributors.

In 2017, we were one of the largest consumer products companies worldwide, measured by EBITDA, as defined. We hold the number one position in terms of total market share of beer by volume, based on our estimates, in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, three of the top five most profitable beer markets in the world. We estimate that we hold the number three position in total market share of beer by volume and the number one position by volume in the fast-growing premium beer category in China, the world’s largest beer market by volume.

We believe that we can realize sufficient upside potential by using our strong platform to grow our global and multi-country brands while developing local brands tailored to regional tastes and trends.

Geographic diversification

Our geographically diversified platform balances the growth opportunities of developing markets with the stability and strength of developed markets. With significant operations in both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres, we benefit from a natural hedge against local or regional market, economic and seasonal volatility.

Developed markets represented approximately 40.8% of our 2017 revenue and developing markets represented 59.2% of our 2017 revenue. Our developing markets include Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, China, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, India, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania, Ukraine and Zambia.

Strong brand portfolio with global brands, multi-country brands and local brands

Our strong brand portfolio addresses a broad range of demand for different types of beer, comprising three brand categories:

 

    Global brands: Capitalizing on common values and experiences which appeal to consumers across borders, our three global brands, Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois, have the strength to be marketed worldwide;

 

    Multi-country brands: With a strong consumer base in their home market, our multi-country brands, Beck’s, Castle Lager, Castle Lite, Hoegaarden and Leffe, bring international flavor to selected markets, connecting with consumers across continents; and

 

    Local brands: Offering locally popular tastes, local brands such as Aguila, Bud Light, Cass, Cristal, Harbin, Skol Victoria and Victoria Bitter connect particularly well with consumers in their home markets.

With more than 500 brands, of which 19 had an estimated retail sales value of over USD 1 billion in 2017, we believe our portfolio is the strongest in the industry. Seven of our brands—Budweiser, Bud Light, Stella Artois, Skol, Corona, Aguila and Brahma—are ranked among the Global Top Ten most valuable beer brands by BrandZ™.

 

30


Table of Contents

Our passion for brewing was evidenced by the 191 awards we won around the world this year, making us the most awarded brewer at major international beer competitions. We continue to focus on creating the highest quality beers to meet consumer needs across a wide variety of occasions.

Our strategy is to focus our attention on our core to premium brands. As a result, we make clear brand choices and seek to invest in those brands that build deep connections with consumers and meet their needs. We seek to replicate our successful brand initiatives, market programs and best practices across multiple geographic markets.

Africa plays a unique role in the AB InBev Group

We believe that Africa, as a continent, has hugely attractive markets with increasing gross domestic products, a growing middle class and expanding economic opportunities. Africa is also growing in importance in the context of the global beer industry. It is expected that the African continent will represent approximately 8.1% of the global beer industry by volumes by 2025, up from approximately 6.5% in 2014, with beer volumes in Africa expected to grow at nearly three times the rate of global beer volumes between 2014 and 2025 according to Plato Logic Limited.

Former AB InBev did not have any significant operations in Africa and we believe that the continent will play a vital role in our future, building upon the strong history and success of SAB in the region dating back to the nineteenth century.

On 14 April 2016, we announced that we had entered into an agreement with the South African Government in terms of which we made commitments to contribute to South Africa (the “EDD Agreement”). Such commitments, which were largely included on the conditions issued by the South African Competition Commission when approving the combination with SAB, relate to sustained employment numbers, agricultural development, enterprise development, local production and procurement, the maintenance of the former SAB’s Zenzele Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Scheme (the “Zenzele Scheme”) until it matures in 2020 and the creation of a new ownership scheme, the participation of small beer brewers in the South African market, investment in initiatives aimed at promoting advancements in education, business and environmental sustainability and the reduction of harmful use of alcohol in South African society, and a commitment to locate the regional head office for Africa in and manage and operate from Johannesburg.

We will disburse equally over a five-year period running from the completion of the combination with SAB, through direct investments and through a fund established by us, an aggregate amount of ZAR 1.0 billion (USD 80 million) for investment in the programs in South Africa contemplated by the EDD Agreement.

As a sign of our commitment to South Africa, in January 2016, former AB InBev completed a secondary (inward) listing of its Ordinary Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. On 11 October 2016, our Ordinary Shares were listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, through a secondary listing, which replaced former AB InBev’s previous secondary listing.

Strong consumer insights-driven brand development capabilities

As a consumer-focused, insights-driven company, we continue to strive to understand the values, lifestyles and preferences of both today’s and tomorrow’s consumers. We expect that this will allow us to remain relevant, as well as build fresh appeal and competitive advantage through innovative products and services tailored to meet evolving consumer needs. We believe that consumer demand can be best anticipated by a close relationship between our innovation and insight teams in which current and expected market trends trigger and drive research processes. Successful examples of recently developed products include Budweiser Prohibition Brew (Canada), Corona Cero (Mexico), Jupiler 0.0 (Belgium) and Michelob Ultra 16 ounce aluminum bottle (United States), Brahma Extra Lager, Red Lager and Weiss, and Skol Beats Secret (Brazil), MixxTail Bartender Series and Patagonia Draught (Argentina), Brahma and Pilsen 340ml (Paraguay), Harbin Wheat (China), and MixxTail (Korea).

 

31


Table of Contents

We believe that our internal excellence programs are a major competitive advantage. The World Class Commercial Program is an integrated marketing and sales execution program designed to continuously improve the quality of our sales and marketing capabilities and processes by ensuring they are fully understood by all relevant employees and consistently followed.

Strict financial discipline

World-class efficiency has been, and will remain, a long-term focus across all markets, all lines of business and under all economic circumstances. Avoiding unnecessary costs is a core competency within our culture. We aim to be efficient with our overhead expenses in order to spend more effectively to grow our company. As a result, we have implemented, and will continue to develop, programs and initiatives aimed at reducing non-commercial expenses. This strict financial discipline has allowed us to develop a “Cost—Connect—Win” model in which overhead expenses are minimized in order to maximize our sales and marketing investments designed to connect with our consumers, win market share and achieve long-term, profitable growth.

We have a number of group-wide cost efficiency programs in place, including:

 

    Zero-Based Budgeting or ZBB: Under Zero-Based Budgeting (“ZBB”), budget decisions are unrelated to the previous year’s levels of expenditure and require justification starting from a zero base each year. Employee compensation is closely tied to delivering on zero-based budgets. ZBB has been successfully introduced into all of our major markets, as well as our global headquarters.

 

    Voyager Plant Optimization or VPO: Voyager Plant Optimization (“VPO”) aims to bring greater efficiency and standardization to our brewing operations and to generate cost savings, while at the same time improving quality, safety and the environment. VPO also entails assessment of our procurement processes to maximize purchasing power and to help us achieve the best results when purchasing a range of goods and services. Behavioral change towards greater efficiencies is at the core of this program, and comprehensive training modules have been established to assist our employees with the implementation of VPO in their daily routines.

 

    Business Shared Services Centers: We have established a number of business shared services centers across our business segments which focus on transactional and support activities within our group. These centers help to standardize working practices and identify and disseminate best practices.

We expect the combination with SAB to generate synergies and cost savings as we continue our integration with SAB. In October 2017, we further updated our synergy and cost savings expectation from USD 2.8 billion per annum as of 31 December 2016 to USD 3.2 billion per annum on a constant currency basis. Of our original expectation of USD 2.45 billion per annum, we announced USD 1.4 billion per annum as transaction synergies, and USD 1.05 billion per annum was previously announced by SAB as cost savings initiatives. From this total, USD 547 million per annum was reported by SAB as of 31 March 2016, and USD 1,556 million per annum was captured between 1 April 2016 and 31 December 2017. The balance of approximately USD 1 billion is expected to be captured in the next three years. Synergies are still expected to come from:

 

    procurement and engineering savings, which are generated from third-party cost efficiencies as a result of economies of scale through combined sourcing of raw materials and packaging and re-engineering of associated processes across our cost base;

 

    brewery and distribution efficiency gains, which are generated from the alignment of brewery, bottling and shipping productivity including: reduced water, energy usage, and extract losses, as well as optimization of other brewery and distribution processes across geographies;

 

    savings generated from sharing best practices such as ZBB and other cost management best practices, efficiency improvements and productivity enhancements across our administrative operations; and

 

32


Table of Contents
    the realignment of overlapping administrative costs, which generates synergies through the optimization of the corporate headquarters and overlapping regional headquarters.

Experienced management team with a strong track record of delivering synergies through business combinations

During the last two decades, our management, including the management of our predecessor companies, has executed a number of merger and acquisition transactions of varying sizes, with acquired businesses being successfully and smoothly integrated into our operations, realizing significant synergies. Notable historical examples include the creation of Ambev in 2000 through the combination of Brahma and Antarctica, the acquisition of Beck’s by Interbrew in 2002, the combination of Ambev and Quilmes in 2003, Ambev gaining control of Labatt in 2004 and the creation of InBev in 2004 from the combination of Interbrew and Ambev. More recent examples include the combination with Anheuser-Busch Companies in November 2008, the combination with Grupo Modelo in June 2013, the reacquisition of Oriental Brewery, the leading brewer in South Korea, in April 2014, and the combination with SAB in 2016.

Our strong track record also extends to successfully integrating brands such as Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois into our global brand portfolio and distribution network, including leveraging Ambev’s distribution channels in Latin America and Canada.

We are utilizing these skills and experiences with the goal of completing the integration of former AB InBev and SAB in a timely fashion, with minimal disruption to the business, and maximizing the capture of cost synergies.

Strategy

Delivering Organic Growth

We have a long-term focus on top-line growth, and delivering consistent, profitable top-line growth is our number one priority. We are building a company for the next 100 years. We have a comprehensive strategy focused on four key pillars:

 

  1. Expand global brands: We continue to leverage the potential of our global brands by expanding into new markets such as South Africa, Colombia and Australia. These brands are also addressing consumer demand for premium and super premium choices.

 

  2. Premiumize and invigorate beer: We are bringing new vigor and energy to consumers’ experience with beer and expanded options. Our “High End” business, a division within AB InBev made up of our global, specialty and craft brands, is now established in 22 markets. We also introduced new variations of our core brands to increase consumers’ beer choices.

 

  3. Elevate core lager: We employ a number of strategies to reinforce the quality heritage of core lager, including leveraging social media, sponsoring events, using differentiated messaging and developing unique packaging. Our goal is always to convey the unique character and quality of our brands and connect with beer drinkers.

 

  4. Create new consumer experiences and occasions: To further develop the beer category, we have broadened our approach beyond near beer products. We continue to respond to consumers’ desire for more balanced lifestyles by increasing our selection of no- and low-alcohol beer products (“NABLAB”) and near beer options that go well with a variety of experiences and occasions. Several of these brands also support our Global Smart Drinking Goals commitment to have NABLAB represent 20% of our global beer volumes by 2025. In addition, we are creating new experiences and occasions that bring people together and make beer more relevant. We sponsor major sports, music and food events and promote in-home, weekday and special occasions.

 

33


Table of Contents

With the combination of SAB, we have adopted a new way of looking at the beer category that recognizes different market maturities and the role of brand portfolios in driving category health. We are excited about the growth opportunities we are seeing in more than 50 countries — in both developed and developing markets – and this positions us for sustainable and profitable long-term revenue growth. We are focused on delivering growth opportunities and elevating the category. We aim to grow our revenue organically ahead of the industry benchmark of volume growth plus inflation, on a country-by-country basis. As a result of now having operations in virtually every major beer market, we have insight into consumer trends and habits, and global macro trends. Specifically:

 

    We are bringing together the “best of both”: we are sharing best practices both ways. We have developed a deep appreciation for the complementary knowledge, initiatives and ideas that our former SAB colleagues bring to the table, including:

 

    Comprehensive insights on expanding the beer category by making it more attractive to consumers on more occasions.

 

    Perspective on how consumption patterns evolve in developing regions and what that means for premiumization efforts.

 

    Replicable models for unlocking the value of lager brands.

 

    We have strengthened our position in developing regions, with excellent growth prospects in Asia, Central and South America and Africa, which will play a key role in our company going forward.

 

    We are continually diversifying and innovating our products to offer more choice with the same quality.

 

    We are brand builders and are committed to building great brands that stand the test of time. Our brands must remain relevant to existing consumers, be capable of winning new consumers, and secure their long-term brand loyalty. We will continue to invest and drive strong consumer preference for our brands and continued premiumization of our brand portfolio.

 

    Opportunities exist to develop brands and offerings to gain share of alcohol in non-traditional beer occasions. We should further strengthen brand innovation in order to stay ahead of market trends and maintain consumer appeal.

 

    We continue to build connections with our consumers at the point-of-sale, in partnership with distributors, off-trade retailers and on-trade points-of-sale, by further improving the quality of the consumer’s shopping experience and consumption occasions.

 

    We are leveraging social and digital media platforms to reach out to existing and potential consumers and build connections with our brands.

Today, we have an enhanced understanding of the key moments of consumption, and to focus our sales, marketing, product development and other brand-building activities on capturing a greater share of these consumption opportunities. We believe that, by understanding, embracing and enriching consumption moments and occasions, we have the opportunity to accelerate revenue growth and deliver increased shareholder value.

Our strategy is based on our Dream of Bringing People Together for a Better World

We strive to achieve this every day. By combining scale, resources and energy with the needs of communities, we believe we have the drive and tools to help make it happen.

We are committed to driving long-term growth and creating value for our business partners and stakeholders. Through our products, brands and investment in communities, we are excited to work toward the Dream of Bringing People Together for a Better World.

 

34


Table of Contents

With operations in virtually every major beer market and an expanded portfolio that includes global, multi-country and local brands, we provide more choices for consumers around the world and believe we can better meet their needs and expectations. We expect that our expanded reach will help grow our global and multi-country brands, while we continue to develop local brands tailored to regional tastes and trends.

Through our reach, resources and energy, we are addressing the needs of our communities by:

 

    Improving environmental & community sustainability: We depend on natural resources to brew our beers and strive to use resources responsibly and preserve them for the future. That is why we factor sustainability into how we do business, including how we source energy and raw materials. We develop innovative programs across our supply chain to improve our sustainability performance with our business partners. To improve lives in the communities we are part of, we also support the farmers and small retailers in our value chain to help them be more productive. To facilitate progress, we combined our sustainability and procurement activities under a single function led by a member of our Executive Board of Management (EBM).

 

    Promoting smart drinking: Part of our dream for a better world is aspiring to make every experience with beer a positive one. Through our Global Smart Drinking Goals, launched in 2015, we aim to reduce the harmful use of alcohol and foster a culture of smart drinking and road safety globally. We are aligned with the World Health Organization’s global target of a 10% or greater reduction in the harmful use of alcohol by 2025, as well as with this area of focus within the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

 

    Increasing workplace safety: We are committed to doing everything possible to create a safe work environment. We encourage employees and contractors to follow safe practices and make healthy choices in our workplaces and local communities.

 

    Business ethics: Our leaders set the tone for our company. We expect them to deliver results and to inspire our colleagues through passion for brewing and a sense of ownership. Most importantly, we never take shortcuts. Integrity, hard work, quality and responsibility are essential to our growth.

For further information about our Dream of Bringing People Together for a Better World, see “—13. Social and Community Matters.”

With our strong brand portfolio, we are “bringing people together” in ways that few others can. By building common ground, strengthening human connections and helping our consumers share unique experiences, we are able to achieve something together that cannot be accomplished alone.

Cost management and efficiency

We strive to continuously improve efficiency by unlocking the potential for variable and fixed-cost savings by seeking to:

 

    maintain long-term cost increases below inflation, benefiting from the application of cost efficiency programs such as ZBB and VPO, internal and external benchmarking, as well as from our size;

 

    leverage the Global Procurement Office to generate further cost savings, and build on our supplier relationships to bring new ideas and innovation to our business; and

 

    continue to share best practices across all functions, as well as benchmark performance externally against other leading companies. Cost management and efficiency will be part of an ongoing process, and fueled by an ownership mindset.

 

35


Table of Contents
2. PRINCIPAL ACTIVITIES AND PRODUCTS

We produce, market, distribute and sell a strong portfolio of well over 500 beer and malt beverage brands. We have a global footprint with a balanced exposure to developed and developing markets and production facilities spread across our regions.

Our production and distribution facilities and other assets are predominantly located in the same geographical areas as our consumers. We set up local production when we believe that there is substantial potential for local sales that cannot be addressed in a cost-efficient manner through exports or third-party distribution into the relevant country. Local production also helps us to reduce, although it does not eliminate, our exposure to currency movements.

The table below sets out the main brands we sell in the markets listed below as of 31 December 2017. We expect that significant growth opportunities will arise from marketing our brand portfolio through a largely complementary distribution network.

 

Country by Region

  

Brands

North America   
Canada    Beer: Alexander Keith’s, Archibald, American Vintage, Bass, Beck’s, Bud Light, Budweiser, Busch, Corona, Hoegaarden, Goose Island, Kokanee, Labatt 50, Labatt Blue, Labatt Blue Light, Lakeport, Leffe, Lowenbrau, Lucky, Michelob Ultra, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Mill Street, Okanagan, Oland, Palm Bay, Rolling Rock, Shock Top, Stanley Park, Stella Artois
United States    Beer: 10 Barrel, Bass, Beck’s, Best Damn, Blue Point, Breckenridge, Bud Light, Bud Light Lime, Budweiser, Busch, Busch Light, Devil’s Backbone, Elysian, Estrella Jalisco, Four Peaks, Golden Road, Goose Island, Hoegaarden, Karbach, Leffe, Lime-A-Rita Family, Michelob Ultra, Natural Light, Rolling Rock, Shock Top, Spiked Seltzer, Stella Artois, Virtue, Wicked Weed
Latin America West   
Colombia    Beer: Bahia, Aguila family, Bogota Beer Company, Budweiser, Club Colombia family, Cola y Pola, Corona, Costeña family, Modelo Especial, Pilsen, Poker family, Redd’s, Stella Artois
   Non-Beer: Pony Malta
Ecuador    Beer: Budweiser, Club family, Pilsener family

 

   Non-Beer: Manantial water, Pony Malta
El Salvador    Beer: Barena, Camagua, Cantina, Golden Light, Pilsener family
Honduras    Beer: Barena, Corona, Imperial, Port Royal, SalvaVida
Mexico    Beer: Barrilito, Bocanegra, Bud Light, Budweiser, Corona, Corona Cero (non-alcoholic), Corona Light, Cucapá, Day of the Dead, Estrella, Ideal, Leon, Mexicali, Michelob Ultra, Modelo Ambar, Modelo Especial, Modelo Trigo, Montejo, Negra Modelo, Pacifico, Stella Artois, Tijuana, Tropical, Victoria
Peru    Beer: Abraxas, Arequipeña, Brahma, Budweiser, Corona, Cristal, Cristal Ultra, Cusqueña family, Löwenbräu, Pilsen Callao, Pilsen Trujillo, San Juan
   Non-Beer: Agua Tonica Backus, Guarana Backus family, Maltin Power, San Mateo water, Viva Backus
Latin America North   
Brazil    Beer: Antarctica, Bohemia, Brahma, Budweiser, Colorado, Corona, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Original, Skol, Skol Beats, Stella Artois
   Non-Beer: Guaraná Antarctica, Do Bem, Fusion, Gatorade, Lipton, Pepsi
Dominican Republic    Beer: Bohemia, Brahma, Budweiser, Corona, Franziskaner, Goose Island, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Presidente, Stella Artois, Shock Top, Spaten, The One
   Non-Beer: 7UP, Guaraná Antarctica, Enriquillo, Coco Rico, Malta Bohemia, Malta Morena, Pepsi, Red Bull, Red Rock, 911
Guatemala    Beer: Beck’s, Brahva, Bud Light, Budweiser, Corona, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Modelo Especial, Stella Artois
Panama    Beer: 507, Atlas, Balboa family
   Non-Beer: 7UP, Agua Brisa, Malta Alfa, Malta Vigor, Mirinda, Pepsi family, Pony Malta

 

36


Table of Contents

Country by Region

  

Brands

Latin America South   
Argentina(1)    Beer: Andes, Beck’s, Brahma, Corona, Franziskaner, Hoegaarden, Iguana, Leffe, Löwenbräu, MixxTail, Negra Modelo, Norte, Patagonia, Pilsen, Quilmes, Stella Artois
   Non-Beer: 7UP, Gatorade, H2OH!, Mirinda, Paso de los Toros, Pepsi, Red Bull, Tropicana, Antárctica Guaraná, Awafrut
Bolivia    Beer: Corona, Ducal, Imperial, Huari, Paceña, Stella Artois, Taquiña, Báltica
   Non-Beer: 7UP, Pepsi, Mirinda, Antárctica Guaraná, Gatorade, H2OH!
Chile    Beer: Baltica, Beck’s, Becker, Brahma, Budweiser, Corona, Goose Island, Leffe, Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Negra Modelo, Quilmes
Paraguay    Beer: Baviera, Brahma, Budweiser, Corona, Norte, Ouro Fino, Patagonia, Pilsen, Stella Artois, Patagonia, Franziskaner, Hoegaarden, Norte
Uruguay    Beer: Budweiser, Norteña, Patagonia, Patricia, Pilsen, Zillertal, Stella Artois, Brahma, Corona, Becks, Leffe Hoegaarden
   Non-Beer: 7UP, Gatorade, H2OH!, Mirinda, Paso de los Toros, Pepsi
EMEA   
United Kingdom    Beer: Bass, Beck’s, Belle Vue, Blue Point Toasted lager, Boddingtons, Brahma, Budweiser, Budweiser Prohibition, Bud Light, Camden Town, Corona, Cubanisto, Franziskaner, Goose Island, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Lowenbrau, Stella Artois, Spaten, Old Blue Last, Cidre, Magners
France    Beer: Beck’s, Belle-Vue, Boomerang, Budweiser, Corona, Cubanisto, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Loburg, Stella Artois
Italy    Beer: Beck’s, Birra Del Borgo family, Budweiser, Corona, Franziskaner, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Löwenbräu, Spaten, Stella Artois
Spain    Beer: Beck’s, Budweiser, Cervezas La Virgen, Corona, Dorada family, Estrella Canaria, Franziskaner, Kelson, Leffe, Saturday, Stella Artois, Tropical family
Russia    Beer: Bagbier, Brahma, Bud, Corona, Franziskaner, Hoegaarden, Klinskoye, Leffe, Löwenbräu, Sibirskaya Korona, Spaten, Stella Artois, T, Tolstiak
Ukraine    Beer: Beck’s, Bud, Chernigivske, Chill, Corona, Hoegaarden, Khmelevus, Leffe, Rogan, Staropramen, Stella Artois, Taller, Yantar
Belgium    Beer: Beck’s, Belle-Vue, Budweiser, Corona, Ginette family, Hoegaarden, Jupiler, Kwak, Leffe, Stella Artois, Tripel Karmeliet, Vieux Temps
Netherlands    Beer: Beck’s, Corona, Dommelsch, Hertog Jan, Hoegaarden, Jupiler, Leffe, Stella Artois
Luxembourg    Beer: Beck’s, Diekirch, Hoegaarden, Jupiler, Leffe, Mousel, Stella Artois
Germany    Beer: Beck’s, Corona, Diebels, Franziskaner, Haake-Beck, Hasseröder, Löwenbräu, Spaten
Botswana    Beer: Carling Black Label, Carling Blue Label, Castle Lager, Castle Lite, Castle Milk Stout, Core Original, Flying Fish, Hansa Pilsener, Redd’s, St. Louis family
   Non-Beer: Bonaqua, Chibuku, Keone Mooka Mague
Ghana    Beer: Castle Milk Stout, Club Premium Lager, Club Shandy, Eagle, Stone Lager
   Non-Beer: Beta Malt, Chibuku, Super
Kenya    Beer: Castle Lager, Castle Lite, Castle Milk Stout, Crown Lager, Nile Special, Redd’s
   Non-Beer: Konyagi
Lesotho    Beer: Carling Black Label, Castle Lager, Castle Lite, Castle Milk Stout, Flying Fish, Hansa Pilsener, Maluti Premium Lager, Redd’s
Malawi    Beer: Carling Black Label, Castle Lager, Castle Lite, Mageu
   Non-Beer: Chibuku, Chibuku Super, Chibuku Super Chocolate, Maheu
Mozambique   

Beer: 2M, Carling Black Label, Castle Lite, Flying Fish, Hansa Pilsener, Impala, Laurentina family, Manica, Redd’s

Non-Beer: Chibuku, Chibuku Super

Namibia    Beer: Carling Black Label, Castle Lager, Castle Lite, Flying Fish
Nigeria    Beer: Castle Lager, Castle Lite, Castle Milk Stout, Eagle, Hero, Redd’s, Trophy
   Non-Beer: Rootz, Beta Malt, Grand Malt, Royal Eagle spirits
South Africa    Beer: Brutal Fruit, Carling Black Label, Carling Blue Label, Carvers Weiss, Castle Lager, Castle Free, Castle Lite, Castle Lite Lime, Castle Milk Stout, Castle Milk Stout Chocolate, Flying Fish family, Hansa Pilsener, Lion Lager, No 3 Fransen Street, Newlands Spring, Redd’s family, Becks Blue, Stella Artois, Corona, Budweiser

 

37


Table of Contents

Country by Region

  

Brands

Swaziland    Beer: Carling Black Label, Castle Lager, Castle Lite, Castle Milk Stout, Flying Fish, Hansa Pilsener, Redd’s, Sibebe
   Non-Beer: Imvelo, Megeu
Tanzania    Beer: Balimi, Castle Lager, Castle Lite, Castle Milk Stout, Eagle, Kilimanjaro, Redd’s, Safari
   Non-Beer: Bia Bingwa, Chibuku, Chibuku Super, Grand Malt, Konyagi, Nzagamba, Ndovu Special Malt
Uganda    Beer: Chairman’s ESB, Castle Lite, Castle Milk Stout, Club Pilsener, Eagle family, Flying Fish, Nile family, Redd’s
   Non-Beer: Chibuku Extra, Shibuku Super
Zambia    Beer: Carling Black Label, Carling Blue Label, Castle Lager, Castle Lite Eagle, Flying Fish, Mosi, Redd’s, Rhino
   Non-Beer: Chibiku, Chibuku Super, Mageu
Asia Pacific   
Australia    Beer: Abbotsford Invalid Stout, Aguila, Alpha Pale Ale, Beck’s, Beez Neez, Budweiser, Carlton family, Carlton Dry family, Cascade family, Corona, Crown Lager, Dogbolter, Yak family, Foster’s family, Great Northern Brewing Co family, Goose Island, Helga, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Matilda Bay family, Melbourne Bitter, Minimum Chips, NT Draught, Pacific Radler, Powers Gold, Pure Blonde family, Redback, Reschs, Sheaf Stout, Stella Artois, Victoria Bitter
   Non-Beer: Black Douglas spirits, Bulmers family, Cougar spirits, Dirty Granny, Kopparberg family, Mercury family, Strongbow family
China    Beer: Beck’s, Budweiser, Corona, Franziskanner, Ginsber, Harbin, Hoegaarden, Sedrin, Stella Artois
India    Beer: Budweiser, Foster’s, Haywards 2000, Haywards 5000, Knock Out, Royal Challenge
South Korea    Beer: Budweiser, Cass, Corona, Hoegaarden, OB Premier, Stella Artois, Victoria Bitter, Cafri, Suntory
Vietnam    Beer: Budweiser, Beck’s, Zorok

 

 

(1) In connection with obtaining regulatory clearance for the combination with SAB in Argentina, we are holding separate SAB’s businesses in Argentina until approval is granted by the Argentine antitrust authorities. We have submitted a proposal to the Argentine antitrust authority, which is still being considered, and would include the transfer to Compañía Cervecerías Unidas S.A. (“CCU”) of certain brands and a payment in exchange for an early termination to CCU’s license for the production and distribution of Budweiser in Argentina. For more information, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—H. Contractual Obligations and Contingencies—Contractual Obligations.”

The table below sets out our sales broken down by business segment for the periods shown:

 

     2017     2016(3)     2015(2)  

Market

   Revenue(1)
(USD million)
     Revenue
(% of total)
    Revenue(1)
(USD million)
     Revenue
(% of total)
    Revenue(1)
(USD million)
     Revenue
(% of total)
 

North America

     15,588        27.6     15,698        34.5     15,603        35.8

Latin America West

     9,238        16.4     5,188        11.4     4,079        9.4

Latin America North

     9,775        17.3     8,461        18.6     9,096        20.9

Latin America South

     3,363        6.0     2,850        6.3     3,331        7.6

EMEA

     10,344        18.3     6,010        13.2     4,128        9.5

Asia Pacific

     7,804        13.8     6,074        13.3     5,784        13.3

Global Export and Holding Companies

     332        0.6     1,237        2.7     1,582        3.6
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     56,444        100.0     45,517        100.0     43,604        100.0
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Notes:

(1)

Revenue is turnover less excise taxes and discounts. In many jurisdictions, excise taxes make up a large proportion of the cost of beer charged to our customers (see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—A. Key Factors Affecting Results of Operations—Excise Taxes”).

 

38


Table of Contents
(2) Effective 1 October 2016, our business segments changed to be as follows: North America, Latin America West, Latin America North, Latin America South, EMEA, Asia Pacific and Global Export and Holding Companies. The figures for the year ended 31 December 2015 have been restated to reflect this allocation.
(3) Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

For a discussion of changes in revenue, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—E. Results of Operations—Year Ended 31 December 2017 Compared to the Year Ended 31 December 2016—Revenue” and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—E. Results of Operations—Year Ended 31 December 2016 Compared to the Year Ended 31 December 2015—Revenue.”

The table below sets out the breakdown between our beer and non-beer volumes and revenue. Based on our actual historical financial information for these periods, our non-beer activities accounted for 16.4% of consolidated volumes in 2017, 12.4% of consolidated volumes in 2016 and 9.6% of consolidated volumes in 2015. In terms of revenue, our non-beer activities generated 10.9% of consolidated revenue in 2017 compared to 9.0% in 2016 and 6.9% in 2015 based on our actual historical financial information for these periods.

 

     Beer(1)(3)      Non-Beer(4)      Consolidated  
     2017      2016      2015      2017      2016      2015      2017      2016      2015  

Volume (million hectoliters)

     513        438        413        100        62        44        613        500        457  

Revenue(2) (USD million)

     50,301        41,421        40,595        6,143        4,096        3,009        56,444        45,517        43,604  

 

Notes:

 

(1) Beer volumes and revenue include not only brands that we own or license, but also third-party brands that we brew or otherwise produce as a subcontractor and third-party products that we sell through our distribution network, particularly in Western Europe.
(2) Revenue is turnover less excise taxes and discounts. In many jurisdictions, excise taxes make up a large proportion of the cost of beer charged to our customers (see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—A. Key Factors Affecting Results of Operations—Excise Taxes”).
(3) The beer category includes flavored malt beverages, such as the Rita family of beverages and MixxTail.
(4) The non-beer category includes soft drinks and certain other beverages.

Beer

Our brands are our foundation and the cornerstone of our relationships with consumers. We invest in our brands to create long-term and sustainable competitive advantages by meeting the various needs and expectations of consumers and by developing leading brand positions around the globe.

On the basis of quality and price, beer can be differentiated into the following categories:

 

    Premium or high-end brands;

 

    Core brands; and

 

    Value, discount or sub-premium brands.

Our brands are positioned across all of these categories. For example, a brand like Stella Artois generally targets the premium category across the globe, while a brand like Skol targets the core segment in Brazil and Natural Light targets the sub-premium category in the United States. We have a particular focus on core-to-premium categories but are also present in the value category where the market structure in a particular country necessitates this presence.

 

39


Table of Contents

Our portfolio includes:

International Distribution

 

    Beck’s, the world’s number one German beer, is renowned for uncompromising quality. It is brewed today, just as it was in 1873, with a rigorous brewing process and a recipe using only four natural ingredients. Beck’s adheres to the strictest quality standards of the German Reinheitsgebot (Purity Law). Beck’s is brewed in various countries, including the United States.

 

    Budweiser is one of the top-selling beers in the United States. Globally, Budweiser volumes have grown every year since 2010, including growth of 2.3% in 2017. Budweiser sales outside the United States represented over 69% of global Budweiser volume in 2017, driven by strong growth in Asia, Brazil and Europe. Budweiser was a sponsor of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ and will continue this sponsorship for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups™.

 

    Castle Lager is popularly described as South Africa’s national beer, first brewed in Johannesburg in 1895, using local hops, creating a somewhat dry taste with bitterness and undertones of malt. Castle Lager is the official sponsor to several South African sporting associations, including the national football and cricket teams.

 

    Castle Lite was first brewed in South Africa in 1994 with a mission to provide the coldest and most refreshing beer on the South African market. Today, it is an Africa-wide premium brand enjoyed in 11 countries and continues to innovate to keep its beer “extra cold.”

 

    Corona is the best-selling Mexican beer in the world and the leading beer brand in Mexico. Corona is available in more than 120 countries. In 2017, it was ranked number six in the BrandZ™ list of most valuable beer brands worldwide. We granted Constellation Brands, Inc. the exclusive right to market and sell Corona and certain other Grupo Modelo beer brands in the 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia and Guam, including Victoria, Modelo Especial, Pacifico and Negra Modelo.

 

    Hoegaarden is a high-end Belgian wheat (or “white”) beer. Based on its brewing tradition dating back to 1445, Hoegaarden is top fermented and then refermented in the bottle or keg, leading to its distinctive cloudy white appearance.

 

    Leffe, a rich, full-bodied beer that hails from Belgium, has the longest heritage in our beer portfolio and is available in over 70 countries worldwide.

 

    Redd’s was originally launched in South Africa as a bold, crisp apple ale in 1996. It led South African Breweries’ efforts to compete in the cider category in South Africa. It is a golden liquid, with a fruity aroma of fresh red apples and citrus fruit, followed through with a crisp sweet taste on the palate. Redd’s is also available in Redd’s Dry, Redd’s Carnival Rosé, and Redd’s Bold Crisp.

 

    Stella Artois is the number one Belgian beer in the world according to Plato Logic Limited and the world’s fourth most valuable beer brand according to Kantar’s BrandZ™ study, and is distributed in over 90 countries worldwide. As a premium lager with roots tracing back to 1366 in the town of Leuven, Belgium, its legacy of quality and elegance is reflected in its iconic chalice and nine-step pouring ritual. Top three markets for Stella Artois as of 2017 are the United States, the United Kingdom and Argentina, with expansion plans well under way in several new growth markets including Australia, South Africa and Mexico. In 2017, a new visual brand identity launched to premiumize packaging and retail assets.

North America

 

    Bud Light is the best-selling beer in the United States and the leader in the premium light category. It is the official sponsor of the NFL (National Football League), with a sponsorship agreement most recently extended to 2022. In the United States, its share of the premium light category in 2017 was approximately 55%, more than the combined share of the next two largest brands (based on IRI estimates).

 

40


Table of Contents
    Michelob Ultra was rolled out nationally in the United States in 2002 and is estimated to be the number five brand by volume in the United States in 2017 according to IRI. Michelob Ultra was the fastest-growing beer brand in the United States between 2015 and 2017, according to IRI (based on share gains).

Latin America West

 

    Modelo Especial is a full-flavored pilsner beer brewed with premium two-row barley malt for a slightly sweet, well-balanced taste with a light hop character and crisp finish. Brewed since 1925, it was created to be a “model” beer for all of Mexico and stands for pride and authenticity.

 

    Victoria is a Vienna-style lager and one of Mexico’s most popular beers. Victoria was produced for the first time in 1865, making Victoria Mexico’s oldest beer brand.

 

    Aguila is a classic Colombian beer and was first brewed in 1913.

 

    Cristal is Peru’s leading beer, brewed since 1922. With a clean, crisp taste and dedication to quality, Cerveza Cristal is a favorite among Peruvians.

 

    Pilsen Callao, first brewed 150 years ago in Peru, offers a clean and simple taste of a true Pilsner.

 

    Poker is a Pilsner lager which has been enjoyed by Colombians for its traditional, bittersweet taste since 1929.

Latin America North

 

    Antarctica is the third-most consumed beer in Brazil, according to Plato Logic Limited.

 

    Brahma is the second-most consumed beer in Brazil, according to Plato Logic Limited. It is one of the Brazilian official sponsors of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.

 

    Skol is the leading beer brand in the Brazilian market, according to Plato Logic Limited. Skol has been a pioneer and innovator in the beer category, engaging with consumers and creating new market trends, especially with entertainment initiatives such as music festivals and as a sponsor of the Rio Olympics.

Latin America South

 

    Quilmes is the leading beer in Argentina, according to AC Nielsen, and a national icon with its striped light blue and white label linked to the colors of the Argentine national flag and football team.

EMEA

 

    Chernigivske is the market leader in Ukraine and a favorite beer brand among Ukrainians. It originates from the small ancient city of Chernihiv and will celebrate its 30th year anniversary in 2018.

 

    Jupiler is the market leader in Belgium and the official sponsor of the most important Belgian professional football league, the Jupiler Pro League. It is also the sponsor of the Belgian national football team.

 

41


Table of Contents
    Klinskoye, which is our largest brand in Russia, originated near Moscow.

 

    Sibirskaya Korona, first established as a local Siberian brand with proud Siberian values, has grown into a national premium brand sold throughout Russia.

 

    Carling Black Label is South Africa’s biggest beer brand and the most awarded beer in the South African portfolio. It is brewed to provide consumers with distinctly aromatic, truly rewarding, full-flavored refreshment.

 

    Flying Fish Premium Flavored Beer combines the pure refreshment of beer with added flavors – pressed lemon and green apple. With an easy drinking taste, Flying Fish offers something different for consumers looking to share new experiences, new flavors and new tastes at any occasion.

 

    Hero, a Nigerian beer brewed using local sorghum and malted barley, reached sales of 2.2 million hectoliters in 2017.

 

    Hansa Pilsener is brewed in true pilsener style, using Saaz hops, which are responsible for the brand’s unique hoppy aroma.

 

    Kilimanjaro Premium Lager is named after Tanzania’s iconic Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. Launched in 1996, it boasts an easy drinking taste made from ingredients grown on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro and nourished by the pure waters that flow from its ice-capped peak. It is light in color with medium 4.5 ABV and has a crisp refreshing taste.

 

    Safari, first brewed in Tanzania in 1977, is a full-flavored, full-bodied beer with a rich golden color and taste that gave rise to a new era of beer brewing in Tanzania. From the very beginning, the brand established its roots as the masculine Tanzanian lager and today it is still the mainstream category leader inspiring young Tanzanian men to follow their paths.

Asia Pacific

 

    Cass is the market leader in South Korea.

 

    Sedrin is a strong regional brand that originated in China’s Fujian province.

 

    Carlton Draught is a traditional, full-strength lager and Australia’s highest-selling tap beer.

 

    Victoria Bitter was first brewed in the 1850s by the founder of Victoria Brewery. Today, it is brewed with a unique combination of ingredients, including Australian pale malt, the brewery’s own special yeast and “Pride of Ringwood” hops grown in Victoria and Tasmania.

In certain markets, we also distribute products of other brewers under licenses, such as Kirin in the United States and Staropramen in Russia and Ukraine. Within Europe, Compañía Cerveçera de Canarias (in the Canary Islands) brews Carlsberg under license. Additionally, Compañía Cerveçera de Canarias has an agreement to distribute Guinness in the Canary Islands.

Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverages

We take pride in empowering consumers to make smart drinking choices. As part of our 2025 Global Smart Drinking Goals, we are committed to ensuring that 20% of our global beer volume will be dedicated to no- and lower-alcohol products by the end of 2025. This commitment ensures that consumers have ample choice when making their responsible drinking decisions.

 

42


Table of Contents

We have continued to expand our global portfolio of non-alcoholic beverages, which currently houses over 15 brands. Brahma 0.0% is the number one non-alcoholic beer in Brazil, reaching over 78% market share in the non-alcoholic beer category in 2017, according to AC Nielsen. In 2017, Budweiser launched a non-alcoholic variant in China, the United Kingdom and Ukraine, as did Pacena in Bolivia and Castle Free in South Africa. Hoegaarden continues to expand its Radler solution, with the release of new flavors in 2017. See “—Beer” for more information.

Near Beer

Some of our recent innovations, which often involve other malt beverages, have stretched beyond typical beer occasions, such as the Rita family in the United States, Palm Bay and Mike’s Hard Lemonade in Canada, Victoria Chelada in Mexico and Flying Fish Chill in South Africa. These innovations are designed to grow the near beer category and improve our market share of alcoholic beverage categories other than beer by addressing changing consumer trends and preferences.

Non-Beer

Soft Drinks

While our core business is beer, we also have an important presence in the soft drink market. We have soft drink operations in Africa and Latin America, and our subsidiary Ambev has soft drinks operations in South America and the Caribbean. Soft drinks include both carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks.

Our soft drinks business includes both our own brands and agreements with PepsiCo related to bottling and distribution of PepsiCo brands. Ambev has a long-term agreement with PepsiCo whereby it has been granted the exclusive right to bottle, sell and distribute certain PepsiCo brands in Brazil, including Pepsi-Cola, Gatorade, H2OH!, and Lipton Ice Tea. Through our Latin America South operations, Ambev is also PepsiCo’s bottler for Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia and Dominican Republic. In Panama, we also produce and bottle PepsiCo soft drinks under an exclusive bottling agreement and also bottle Schweppes soft drinks under license.

Apart from the bottling and distribution agreements with PepsiCo, Ambev also produces, sells and distributes its own soft drinks. Its main carbonated soft drinks brand is Guaraná Antarctica. In 2017, Fusion became the third-largest brand within the energy drink market in Brazil.

We also have interests in certain water-bottling and distribution businesses in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru and throughout Africa.

In the United States, we sell Teavana and an energy drink called Hi Ball.

Other Alcoholic Beverages

We also have operations throughout Africa that produce relatively short-life traditional beer, brewed using sorghum under various brand names including Chibuku, Chibuku Super, Invelo and Nzagamba.

We have further interests in wines and spirits operations and distribution businesses in Australia, the Dominican Republic, Nigeria and Tanzania.

 

3. MAIN MARKETS

We are a global brewer, with sales in over 150 countries across the globe.

The last two decades have been characterized by rapid growth in fast-growing developing markets, notably in certain regions of Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, where we have significant sales.

 

43


Table of Contents

Each market in which we operate has its own dynamics and consumer preferences and trends. Given the breadth of our brand portfolio, we believe we are well-placed to address changing consumer needs in the various categories (premium, core and value) within any given market.

We are organized into seven business segments.

The business segments and their corresponding countries are:

 

    North America: the United States and Canada;

 

    Latin America West: Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Peru;

 

    Latin America North: Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Panama, St. Vincent, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Dominica and the Caribbean;

 

    Latin America South: Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay and Bolivia;

 

    EMEA: the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Ukraine, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, African Islands, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia and export activities in Europe and Middle East;

 

    Asia Pacific: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Vietnam and other South and Southeast Asian countries; and

 

    Global Export and Holdings Companies.

The table below sets out our total volumes broken down by business segment for the periods shown:

 

     2017     2016(1)(2)     2015(1)  

Market

   Volumes
(million
hectoliters)
     Volumes
(% of total)
    Volumes
(million
hectoliters)
     Volumes
(% of total)
    Volumes
(million
hectoliters)
     Volumes
(% of total)
 

North America

     114        18.5     117        23.4     118        25.8

Latin America West

     111        18.1     64        12.7     44        9.6

Latin America North

     119        19.5     118        23.6     123        26.9

Latin America South

     34        5.6     32        6.4     34        7.4

EMEA

     132        21.5     75        15.1     45        9.8

Asia Pacific

     102        16.6     92        18.4     90        19.7

Global Export and Holding Companies

     1        0.2     2        0.4     3        0.7
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     613        100.0     500        100.0     457        100.0
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

(1) Effective 1 October 2016, our business segments changed to be as follows: North America, Latin America West, Latin America North, Latin America South, EMEA, Asia Pacific and Global Export and Holding Companies. The figures for the years ended 31 December 2015 have been restated to reflect this allocation.
(2) Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

On an individual country basis, our largest markets by volume listed, during the year ended 31 December 2017, in alphabetical order, were Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States, with each market having its own dynamics and consumer preferences and trends. Given the breadth of our brand portfolio, we believe we are well-placed to address changing consumer needs in the various categories (premium, core and value) within any given market.

 

44


Table of Contents
4. COMPETITION

We believe our largest competitors are Heineken, Carlsberg, CR SNOW and Molson Coors Brewing Company based on information from the Plato Logic Limited report for the calendar year 2016 (published in December 2017).

Historically, brewing was a local industry with only a few players having a substantial international presence. Larger brewing companies often obtained an international footprint through direct exports, licensing agreements and joint venture arrangements. However, the last several decades have seen a transformation of the industry, with a prolonged period of consolidation. This trend started within the more established beer markets of Western Europe and North America, and took the form of larger businesses being formed through merger and acquisition activity within national markets. More recently, consolidation has also taken place within developing markets. Over the last decade, the global consolidation process has accelerated, with brewing groups making significant acquisitions outside of their domestic markets and increasingly looking to purchase other regional brewing organizations. As a result of this consolidation process, the absolute and relative size of the world’s largest brewers has substantially increased. Therefore, today’s leading international brewers have significantly more diversified operations and have established leading positions in a number of international markets.

We have participated in this consolidation trend and grown our international footprint through a series of mergers and acquisitions, described in “—A. History and Development of the Company,” which include:

 

    the acquisition of Beck’s in 2002;

 

    the creation of InBev in 2004, through the combination of Interbrew and Ambev;

 

    the Anheuser-Busch Companies acquisition in November 2008;

 

    the combination with Grupo Modelo in June 2013;

 

    the reacquisition of Oriental Brewery in April 2014; and

 

    the combination with SAB in October 2016.

The 10 largest brewers in the world in 2016 in terms of volume are as set out in the table below.

 

Rank   

Name

   Volume
(million
hectoliters)(1)
 
1   

AB InBev

     510.3  
2   

Heineken

     228.8  
3   

Carlsberg

     119.8  
4   

CR Snow

     117.2  
5   

Molson Coors Brewing Company

     96.5  
6   

Tsingtao (Group)

     79.2  
7   

Asahi

     70.1  
8   

Beijing Yanjing

     45.0  
9   

Castel/BGI

     30.2  
10   

Kirin

     28.3  

 

Note:

 

(1) Source: Plato Logic Limited report for the calendar year 2016 (published in December 2017). Volumes are based on calculations on total volumes of majority-owned subsidiaries, also licenced brewing. Our own beer volumes for the year ended 31 December 2017 were 508 million hectoliters and were 434 million hectoliters for the year ended 31 December 2016. The above total for 2016 reflects a pro-forma adjustment performed by Plato Logic to account for the combination with SAB and therefore does not reflect our as-reported volumes for the year. Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

 

45


Table of Contents

In each of our regional markets, we compete against a mixture of national, regional, local and imported beer brands. In many countries in Latin America, we compete mainly with local players and local beer brands. In North America, Brazil and in other selected countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific, we compete primarily with large leading international or regional brewers and international or regional brands.

 

5. WEATHER AND SEASONALITY

For information on how weather affects consumption of our products and the seasonality of our business, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—A. Key Factors Affecting Results of Operations—Weather and Seasonality.”

 

6. BREWING PROCESS; RAW MATERIALS AND PACKAGING; PRODUCTION FACILITIES; LOGISTICS

Brewing Process

The basic brewing process for most beers is straightforward, but significant know-how is involved in quality and cost control. The most important stages are brewing and fermentation, followed by maturation, filtering and packaging. Although malted barley (malt) is the primary ingredient, other grains such as unmalted barley, corn, rice or wheat are sometimes added to produce different beer styles. The proportion and choice of other raw materials varies according to regional taste preferences and the type of beer.

The first step in the brewing process is making wort by mixing malt with warm water and then gradually heating it to around 75°C in large mash tuns to dissolve the starch and transform it into a mixture, called “mash,” of maltose and other sugars. The spent grains are filtered out and the liquid, now called “wort,” is boiled. Hops are added at this point to give a special bitter taste and aroma to the beer. The wort is boiled for one to two hours to sterilize and concentrate it, and extract the flavor and desired bitterness from the hops. Cooling follows, using a heat exchanger. The hopped wort is saturated with air, or oxygen, essential for the growth of the yeast in the next stage.

Yeast is a micro-organism that turns the sugar in the wort into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This process of fermentation takes 5 to 11 days, after which the wort finally becomes beer. Different types of beer are made using different strains of yeast and wort compositions. In some yeast varieties, the yeast cells rise to the top of the liquid at the end of fermentation. Ales and wheat beers are brewed with these “top-fermenting” yeast strains. Lagers are made using yeast strains that settle to the bottom of the liquid. Some special Belgian beers, called lambic or gueuze, use yet another method, where fermentation relies on spontaneous action by airborne yeasts.

During the maturation process, the liquid clarifies as yeast and other particles settle. Further filtering gives the beer more clarity. Maturation varies by type of beer and can take as long as three weeks, and then the beer is ready for packaging in kegs, cans or bottles.

Raw Materials and Packaging

The main raw materials used in our beer and other alcoholic malt beverage production are malted barley, corn grits, corn syrup, rice, hops and water. In some of our regions, such as in Africa, locally sourced agricultural products such as sorghum or cassava are used in place of malted barley. For non-beer production (mainly carbonated soft drinks) the main ingredients are flavored concentrate, fruit concentrate, sugar, sweetener and water. In addition to these inputs into our products, delivery of our products to consumers requires extensive use of packaging materials such as glass, PET and aluminum bottles, aluminum or steel cans and kegs, aluminum can stock, labels, plastic crates, metal and plastic closures, folding cartons, cardboard products and plastic films.

We use only our own proprietary yeast, which we grow in our facilities. In some regions, we import hops to obtain adequate quality and appropriate variety for flavor and aroma. We purchase these ingredients through the open market and through contracts with suppliers. We also purchase barley and process it to meet our malt requirements at our malting plants.

 

46


Table of Contents

Prices and sources of raw materials are determined by, among other factors:

 

    the level of crop production;

 

    weather conditions;

 

    export demand; and

 

    governmental taxes and regulations.

We hedge some of our commodities contracts on the financial markets and some of our malt requirements are purchased on the spot market. See “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk—Market Risk, Hedging and Financial Instruments” and note 29 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017, for further details on commodities hedging.

We have supply contracts with respect to most packaging materials as well as our own production capacity as outlined below in “—Production Facilities.” The choice of packaging materials varies by cost and availability in different regions, as well as consumer preferences and the image of each brand. We also use aluminum cansheet for the production of beverage cans and lids.

Hops, PET resin and, to some extent, cans are mainly sourced globally. Malt, adjuncts (such as unmalted grains or fruit), sugar, steel, cans, labels, metal closures, soda ash for our glass plants, plastic closures, preforms and folding cartons are sourced regionally. Electricity is sourced nationally, while water is sourced locally, for example, from municipal water systems and private wells.

We use natural gas as the primary fuel for our plants, and diesel as the primary fuel for freight. We believe adequate supplies of fuel and electricity are available for the conduct of our business. The energy commodity markets have experienced, and can be expected to continue to experience, significant price volatility. We manage our energy costs using various methods including supply contracts, hedging techniques and fuel switching.

Production Facilities

Our production facilities are spread across our regions, giving us a balanced geographical footprint in terms of production and allowing us to efficiently meet consumer demand across the globe. We manage our production capacity across our regions, countries and plants. We typically own our production facilities free of any major encumbrances. We also lease a number of warehouses and other commercial buildings from third parties. See “—11. Regulations Affecting Our Business” for a description of the environmental and other regulations that affect our production facilities.

Beverage Production Facilities

Our beverage production facilities comprised 238 breweries and/or non-beer plants as of 31 December 2017 spread across our regions. Of these 238 plants, 189 produced only beer and other alcoholic malt beverages, 14 produced only soft drinks and 35 produced beer, other alcoholic beverages and soft drinks. Except in limited cases (for example, our Hoegaarden brewery in Belgium), our breweries are not dedicated to one single brand of beer. This allows us to allocate production capacity efficiently within our group.

The table below sets out, for each of our business segments (excluding Global Export and Holdings Companies) in 2017, the number of our beverage production plants (breweries and/or non-beer drink plants) as well as the plants’ overall capacity.

 

47


Table of Contents
            2017 volumes(1)(4)(6)      Annual engineering
capacity as of
31 December 2017(4)(6)
 

Business Segment

   Number of
plants as of
31 December
2017(4)(6)
     Beer (khl)(2)      Non-Beer(3)
(khl)
     Beer (khl)(2)      Non-Beer(3)
(khl)
 

North America

     32        113,496        —          130,076        0  

Latin America West

     30        90,797        19,829        125,469        22,600  

Latin America North

     37        90,363        29,010        134,017        68,791  

Latin America South

     20        23,826        10,236        30,661        20,202  

EMEA

     63        91,285        40,407        135,505        5,133  

Asia Pacific

     56        101,986        —          166,632        42  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total(5)

     238        511,735        99,482        722,359        116,767  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

(1) Reported volumes.
(2) For purposes of this table, the beer category includes near beer beverages, such as the Rita family of beverages and MixxTail.
(3) The non-beer category includes soft drinks and certain other beverages, such as Stella Artois Cidre.
(4) Excludes our joint ventures and assets where we are not the majority owner.
(5) Excludes Global Export and Holding Companies with 2017 beer volumes of 1.3 million hectoliters.
(6) Excludes the Green Field brewery under construction in Mexico Centro.

Non-Beverage Production Facilities

Our beverage production plants are supplemented and supported by a number of plants and other facilities that produce raw materials and packaging materials for our beverages. The table below provides additional detail on these facilities as of 31 December 2017.

 

Type of plant / facility

   Number of
plants / facilities(1)
  

Countries in which plants / facilities are located(1)

Malt plants

   23    Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Uganda, United States, Uruguay, Zambia

Rice / Corn grits mill

     6    Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, United States

Farm and agriculture

     7    Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, United States, South Africa

Hop pellet plant

     1    Argentina

Glass bottle plants

     6    Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay, United States

Bottle cap plants

     6    Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, South Africa

Label plants

     3    Brazil, Colombia

Can plants

     7    Bolivia, Mexico, United States

Can lid manufacturing plants

     2    United States

Crown and closure liner material plant

     1    United States

Soft drink concentrate plants

     2    Brazil

Sand quarries

     1    Mexico

Yeast plants

     1    Brazil

Plastic Crates plants

     1    Honduras

Other

     1    United States
  

 

  

 

Total

   68    —  
  

 

  

 

 

Notes:

 

(1) Excludes plants and facilities owned by joint ventures and assets where we are not the majority owner.

 

48


Table of Contents

In addition to production facilities, we also maintain a geographical footprint in key markets through sales offices and distribution centers. Such offices and centers are opened as needs in the various markets arise.

Capacity Expansion

We continually assess whether our production footprint is optimized to support future customer demand. Through footprint optimization, adding new capabilities (such as plants, packaging lines or distribution centers) to our footprint not only allows us to boost production capacity, but the strategic location often also reduces distribution time and costs so that our products reach consumers rapidly, efficiently and at a lower total cost. Conversely, footprint optimization can lead to divesting of some assets, such as reducing some production and distribution capabilities as needed to maintain the most optimal operational network.

For example, in 2017, we invested in additional brewing, packaging and distribution capacities in multiple countries including China, Vietnam, Colombia, South Africa, Mexico, the U.S., Argentina, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Nigeria and Belgium to meet our future demand expectations in these countries or for export volumes.

Our capital expenditures are primarily funded through cash from operating activities and are for production facilities, logistics, administrative capabilities improvements, hardware and software.

We may also outsource, to a limited extent, the production of items that we are either unable to produce in our own production network (for example, due to a lack of capacity during seasonal peaks) or for which we do not yet want to invest in new production facilities (for example, to launch a new product without incurring the full associated start-up costs). Such outsourcing mainly relates to secondary repackaging materials that we cannot practicably produce on our own, in which case our products are sent to external companies for repackaging (for example, gift packs with different types of beers).

Logistics

Our logistics organization is composed of (i) a first tier, which comprises all inbound flows into the plants of raw materials and packaging materials and all the outbound flows from the plants into the second drop point in the chain (for example, distribution centers, warehouses, wholesalers or key accounts), and (ii) a second tier, which comprises all distribution flows from the second drop point into the customer delivery tier (for example, pubs or retailers).

Our transportation mechanics vary by market depending on economic and strategic considerations. We may outsource transportation to third-party contractors, retain such capability in-house or implement owner-driver programs, among other options.

Some of our breweries have warehouses that are attached to their production facilities. In places where our warehouse capacity is limited, external warehouses are rented. We strive to centralize fixed costs, which has resulted in some plants sharing warehouse and other facilities with each other.

Where it has been implemented, the VPO program has had a direct impact on our logistics organization, for example, in respect of safety, quality, environment, scheduling, warehouse productivity and loss-prevention actions.

 

7. DISTRIBUTION OF PRODUCTS

We depend on effective distribution networks to deliver products to our customers. We review our focus markets for distribution and licensing agreements on an annual basis. The focus markets will typically be markets with an interesting premium category and with reliable and strong partners (brewers and/or importers). Based on these criteria, focus markets are then chosen.

 

49


Table of Contents

The distribution of beer, other alcoholic beverages and non-beer drinks varies from country to country and from region to region. The nature of distribution reflects consumption patterns and market structure, geographical density of customers, local regulation, the structure of the local retail sector, scale considerations, market share, expected added-value and capital returns, and the existence of third-party wholesalers or distributors. In some markets, brewers distribute directly to customers (for example, in Belgium). In other markets, wholesalers may play an important role in distributing a significant proportion of beer to customers either for legal reasons (for example, in certain U.S. states and Canada where there may be legal constraints on the ability of a beer manufacturer to own a wholesaler), or because of historical market practice (for example, in China, Russia and Argentina). In some instances, we have acquired third-party distributors to help us self-distribute our products, as we have done in Brazil and Mexico.

The products we brew in the United States are sold to 440 wholesalers with the exclusive right to carry our products within a designated territory, for resale to retailers, with some entities owning more than one wholesalership. As of the end of 2017, we owned 17 of these wholesalers and have ownership stakes in another three of them. The remaining wholesalers are independent businesses. In certain countries, we enter into exclusive importer arrangements and depend on our counterparties to these arrangements to market and distribute our products to points of sale. In certain markets, we also distribute the products of other brewers.

We generally distribute our products through (i) our own distribution, in which we deliver to points of sale directly, and (ii) third-party distribution networks, in which delivery to points of sale occurs through wholesalers and independent distributors. In certain cases, we may own or have an ownership stake in a wholesaler. Third-party distribution networks may be exclusive or non-exclusive.

See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—A. Key Factors Affecting Results of Operations—Distribution Arrangements” for a discussion of the effect of the choice of distribution arrangements on our results of operations.

As a customer-driven organization, we have programs for professional relationship building with our customers in all markets regardless of the chosen distribution method. This happens directly, for example, by way of key customer account management, and indirectly, by way of wholesaler excellence programs.

We seek to provide media advertising, point-of-sale advertising and sales promotion programs to promote our brands. Where relevant, we complement national brand strategies with geographic marketing teams focused on delivering relevant programming addressing local interests and opportunities.

 

8. LICENSING

In some markets, we may enter into license agreements or, alternatively, international distribution and/or importation agreements, depending on the best strategic fit for each particular market. License agreements entered into by us grant the right to third-party licensees to manufacture, package, sell and market one or several of our brands in a particular assigned territory under strict rules and technical requirements. In the case of international distribution and/or importation agreements, we produce and package the products ourselves while the third party distributes, markets and sells the brands in the local market.

We have entered into a number of licensing, distribution and importation agreements relating to our brands, including the following:

 

    Stella Artois is licensed to third parties in various countries including Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Kosovo, Montenegro, New Zealand, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia, while Beck’s is licensed to third parties in Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, New Zealand, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Tunisia, and an existing license for Beck’s is being renegotiated in Turkey.

 

   

Budweiser is brewed and sold in Japan through a license and distribution agreements with Kirin Brewery Company, Limited. A licensing agreement allows Diageo Ireland to brew and sell Budweiser

 

50


Table of Contents
 

and Bud Light in the Republic of Ireland, and Diageo Northern Ireland has the right to sell Budweiser in Northern Ireland. Budweiser is also brewed under license and sold by Heineken in Panama. Compañía Cervecerías Unidas, a subsidiary of Compañía Cervecerías Unidas S.A., a leading Chilean brewer, brews and distributes Budweiser in Argentina through a subsidiary. For more information, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—H. Contractual Obligations and Contingencies—Contractual Obligations.” We also sell various brands, including Budweiser, by exporting from our license partners’ breweries to other countries.

 

    The Corona beer brand is perpetually licensed to a subsidiary of Constellation Brands, Inc. for production in Mexico and marketing and sales in 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia and Guam.

 

    Aguila, Castle Lager, Sheaf Stout, Victoria Bitter, Crown Lager, Pure Blonde, Carlton Draught, Carlton Dry, Cusqueña, Cristal, Foster’s, Redd’s, Cascade Brewery Company products, Matilda Bay Brewing Company products and certain other brands are perpetually licensed to Molson Coors Brewing Company in the 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. We have retained rights to brew and distribute these beers outside of the United States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

We also manufacture and distribute other third-party brands, such as Kirin in the United States and Molson Coors Brewing Company’s brand Staropramen in Russia and Ukraine. Ambev, our listed Brazilian subsidiary, and some of our other subsidiaries have entered into manufacturing and distribution agreements with PepsiCo. Major brands that are distributed under this agreement are Pepsi, 7UP and Gatorade. See “—2. Principal Activities and Products—Non-Beer—Soft Drinks” for further information in this respect. Ambev also has a license agreement with us which allows it to exclusively produce, distribute and market Budweiser and Stella Artois in Brazil and Canada. Ambev also distributes Budweiser in Paraguay, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Uruguay and Chile and Corona in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Nicaragua and Canada.

Molson Coors Brewing Company has rights to brew and/or distribute, under license, Beck’s, Löwenbräu, Spaten and Stella Artois, in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

 

9. BRANDING AND MARKETING

Our brands are the foundation and cornerstone of our relationships with consumers and the key to our long-term success. Our brand portfolio, its enduring bonds with consumers and its partnerships with customers are our most important assets. We invest in our brands to create long-term sustainable competitive advantage by seeking to meet the beverage needs of consumers around the world and to develop leading brand positions in every market in which we operate.

Our brand portfolio consists of three global brands (Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois), our multi-country brands (Beck’s, Castle Lager, Castle Lite, Hoegaarden and Leffe), and many “local champions” (Jupiler, Skol, Quilmes, Bud Light, Modelo Especial, Aguila, Pilsen, Hero, Mosi, Kilimanjaro and Harbin, to name but a few). We believe this robust brand portfolio provides us with strong growth and revenue opportunities and, coupled with a powerful range of premium brands, positions us well to meet the needs of consumers in each of the markets in which we compete. For further information about our brands, see “—2. Principal Activities and Products—Beer.”

We seek to constantly strengthen and develop our brand portfolio through enhancement of brand quality, marketing and product innovation. Our marketing team therefore works together closely with our research and development team (see “—10. Intellectual Property; Innovation; Research and Development” for further information).

We continually assess consumer needs and values in each geographic market in which we operate with a view to identifying the key characteristics of consumers in each beer category (that is, premium, core and value). This allows us to position our existing brands (or to introduce new brands) in order to address the characteristics of each category.

 

51


Table of Contents

Our marketing approach is based on a “value-based brands” proposition, a single, clear, compelling values-based reason for consumer preference. The value-based brands approach first involves the determination of consumer portraits; secondly, brand attributes (that is, tangible characteristics of the brand that support the brand’s positioning) and brand personality (that is, the way the brand would behave as a person) are defined; and, finally, a positioning statement to help ensure the link between the consumer and the brand is made. Once this link has been established, a particular brand can either be developed (brand innovation) or relaunched (brand renovation or line extension from the existing brand portfolio) to meet the customers’ needs. We apply zero-based planning principles to yearly budget decisions and for ongoing investment reviews and reallocations. We invest in each brand in line with its local or global strategic priority and, taking into account its local circumstances, seek to maximize profitable and sustainable growth.

For example, we focus on our growth strategy for each of our brands based on different growth driver platforms, which depend on the occasion at which our products are consumed (e.g., relaxing at home with friends; or socializing in a bar). These growth driver platforms are a global company-wide initiative, incorporating the whole organization from supply, to operations, to sales and marketing, bringing our teams together to deliver end-to-end integrated consumer experiences.

We own the rights to our principal brand names and trademarks in perpetuity for the main countries where these brands are currently commercialized (with the exception of the Modelo beer brands and certain former SAB brands licensed in the United States as described under “—8. Licensing” above).

 

10. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY; INNOVATION; RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Innovation is one of the key factors enabling us to achieve our strategy. We seek to combine technological know-how with market understanding to develop a healthy innovation pipeline in terms of production process, product and packaging features as well as branding strategy. In addition, as beer markets mature, innovation plays an increasingly important role by providing differentiated products with increased value to consumers.

Intellectual Property

Our intellectual property portfolio mainly consists of trademarks, patents, registered designs, copyrights, know-how and domain names. This intellectual property portfolio is managed by our internal legal department, in collaboration with a selected network of external intellectual property advisers. We place importance on achieving close cooperation between our intellectual property team and our marketing and research and development teams. An internal stage gate process promotes the protection of our intellectual property rights, the swift progress of our innovation projects and the development of products that can be launched and marketed without infringing any third-party’s intellectual property rights. A project can only move on to the next step of its development after the necessary verifications (for example, availability of trademark, existence of prior technology/earlier patents and freedom to market) have been carried out. This internal process is designed to ensure that financial and other resources are not lost due to oversights in relation to intellectual property protection during the development process.

Our patent portfolio is carefully built to gain a competitive advantage and support our innovation and other intellectual assets. We currently have more than 160 pending and granted patent families, each of which covers one or more technological inventions. This means we have or are seeking to obtain patent protection for more than 165 different technological inventions. The extent of the protection differs between technologies, as some patents are protected in many jurisdictions, while others are only protected in one or a few jurisdictions. Our patents may relate, for example, to brewing processes, improvements in production of fermented malt-based beverages, treatments for improved beer flavor stability, non-alcoholic beer development, filtration processes, beverage-dispensing systems and devices, can manufacturing processes, beer packaging or novel uses for brewing materials and disruptive technologies.

 

52


Table of Contents

We license in limited technology from third parties. We also license out certain of our intellectual property to third parties, for which we receive royalties.

Innovation, Research and Development

Given our focus on innovation, we place a high value on research and development (“R&D”). In 2017, we spent USD 276 million (USD 244 million in 2016 and USD 207 million in 2015) on research. The spend focused on product innovations, market research, as well as process optimization and product development.

Our innovation strategy is translated into our R&D priorities, which consist of breakthrough innovation, incremental innovation and renovation (that is, updates and enhancements of existing products and packages). The main goal for the innovation process is to provide consumers with better products and experiences. This includes launching new liquids, new packaging and new dispensing systems that deliver better performance, both for the consumer and in terms of financial results, by increasing our competitiveness in the relevant markets. With consumers comparing products and experiences offered across very different beverage categories and the choice of beverages increasing, our R&D efforts also require an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of other beverage categories, spotting opportunities for beer and malt beverages and developing consumer solutions (products) that better address consumer needs and deliver better experiences. This requires understanding consumer emotions and expectations. Sensory experience, premiumization, convenience, sustainability and design are all central to our R&D efforts.

R&D in process optimization is primarily aimed at quality improvement, capacity increase (plant debottlenecking and addressing volume issues, while minimizing capital expenditure) and improving efficiency. Newly developed processes, materials and/or equipment are documented in best practices and shared across business regions. Current projects range from malting to bottling of finished products.

Knowledge management and learning also make up an integral part of research and development. We seek to continuously increase our knowledge through collaborations with universities and other industries.

Our R&D team is regularly briefed (on at least an annual basis) on our priorities and our business regions’ priorities and approves concepts and technologies which are subsequently prioritized for development. The R&D teams invest in both short- and long-term strategic projects for future growth, with the launch time depending on complexity and prioritization.

The Global Innovation and Technology Center, located in Leuven, Belgium, accommodates the Product, Packaging, Raw Material, Process and Dispense Development teams and has facilities such as Labs, Experimental Brewery and Sensory Analysis. In addition to the Global Innovation and Technology Center, we also have Product, Packaging and Process development teams located in each of our geographic regions focusing on the short and medium term development and implementation needs of such regions.

 

11. REGULATIONS AFFECTING OUR BUSINESS

Our worldwide operations are subject to extensive regulatory requirements regarding, among other things, production, distribution, importation, marketing, promotion, labeling, advertising, labor, pensions and public health, consumer protection and environmental issues. For example, in the United States, federal and state laws regulate most aspects of the brewing, sale, marketing, labeling and wholesaling of our products. At the federal level, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department oversees the industry, and each state in which we sell or produce products, and some local authorities in jurisdictions in which we sell products, also have regulations that affect the business conducted by us and other brewers and wholesalers. It is our policy to abide by the laws and regulations around the world that apply to us or to our business. We rely on legal and operational compliance programs, as well as local in-house and external counsel, to guide our businesses in complying with applicable laws and regulations of the countries in which we operate.

 

53


Table of Contents

See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—Certain of our operations depend on independent distributors or wholesalers to sell our products, and we may be unable to replace distributors or acquire interests in wholesalers or distributors. In addition, we may be adversely impacted by the consolidation of retailers,” “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—Negative publicity, perceived health risks and associated government regulation may harm our business,” “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—We could incur significant costs as a result of compliance with, and/or violations of or liabilities under, various regulations that govern our operations,” “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—Climate change or other environmental concerns, or legal, regulatory or market measures to address climate change or other environmental concerns, may negatively affect our business or operations, including the availability of key production inputs,” “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—Our subsidiary Ambev operates a joint venture in Cuba, in which the Government of Cuba is its joint venture partner. Cuba remains subject to comprehensive economic and trade sanctions by the United States and Ambev’s operations in Cuba may adversely affect our reputation and the liquidity and value of our securities” and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—A. Key Factors Affecting Results of Operations—Governmental Regulations.”

Production, advertising, marketing and sales of alcoholic beverages are subject to various restrictions around the world, often based on health considerations related to the misuse or harmful use of alcohol. These range from a complete prohibition of alcohol in certain countries and cultures through the prohibition of the import of alcohol, to restrictions on the advertising style, media and messages used. In a number of countries, television is a prohibited medium for advertising alcohol products, and in other countries, television advertising, while permitted, is carefully regulated. Media restrictions may constrain our brand building and innovation potential. Labeling of our products is also regulated in certain markets, varying from health warning labels to importer identification, alcohol strength and other consumer information. Specific warning statements related to the risks of misusing alcohol products, including beer, have also become prevalent in recent years. Introduction of smoking bans in pubs and restaurants may have negative effects on on-trade consumption (that is, beer purchased for consumption in a pub or restaurant or similar retail establishment), as opposed to off-trade consumption (i.e., beer purchased at a retail outlet for consumption at home or another location). We believe that the regulatory environment in most countries in which we operate is becoming increasingly stringent with respect to health issues and expect this trend to continue in the future.

The distribution of our beer and other alcoholic beverage products may also be regulated. In certain markets, alcohol may only be sold through licensed outlets, varying from government- or state-operated monopoly outlets (e.g., in the off-trade channel of certain Canadian provinces) to the common system of licensed on-trade outlets (e.g., licensed bars and restaurants) which prevails in many countries (e.g., in much of the European Union). In the United States, states operate under a three-tier system of regulation for beer products from brewer to wholesaler to retailer, meaning that we usually work with licensed third-party distributors to distribute our products to the points of sale.

In the United States, both federal and state laws generally prohibit us from providing anything of value to retailers, including paying slotting fees or (subject to exceptions) holding ownership interests in retailers. Some states prohibit us from being licensed as a wholesaler for our products. State laws also regulate the interactions among us, our wholesalers and consumers by, for example, limiting merchandise that can be provided to consumers or limiting promotional activities that can be held at retail premises. If we violate applicable federal or state alcoholic beverage laws, we could be subject to a variety of sanctions, including fines, equitable relief and suspension or permanent revocation of our licenses to brew or sell our products.

Governments in most of the countries in which we operate also establish minimum legal drinking ages, which generally vary from 16 to 21 years or impose other restrictions on sales. Some governments have imposed or are considering imposing minimum pricing on alcohol products. Moreover, governments may seek to address harmful use of alcohol by raising the legal drinking age, further limiting the number, type or operating hours of retail outlets or expanding retail licensing requirements. We work both independently and together with other brewers and alcoholic beverage companies to tackle the harmful use of alcohol products and actively promote responsible sales and consumption.

Growing concern over the rise of obesity and obesity-related diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, are accelerating global policy debates on reducing consumption of sugar in beverages and foods. This may have an impact on our soft drink business.

 

54


Table of Contents

We are subject to antitrust and competition laws in the jurisdictions in which we operate and may be subject to regulatory scrutiny in certain of these jurisdictions. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—We are exposed to antitrust and competition laws in certain jurisdictions and the risk of changes in such laws or in the interpretation and enforcement of existing antitrust and competition laws. In addition, in connection with our previous acquisitions, various regulatory authorities have previously imposed conditions with which we are required to comply.”

In many jurisdictions, excise and other indirect duties, including legislation regarding minimum alcohol pricing, make up a large proportion of the cost of beer charged to customers. In the United States, for example, the brewing industry is subject to significant taxation. The United States federal government currently levies an excise tax of USD 18 per barrel (equivalent to approximately 117 liters) of beer sold for consumption in the United States. All states also levy excise taxes on alcoholic beverages. Proposals have been made to increase the federal excise tax as well as the excise taxes in some states. In recent years, a number of countries have adopted proposals to increase beer excise taxes. Rising excise duties can drive up our pricing to the consumer, which in turn could have a negative impact on our results of operations. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—We may be subject to adverse changes in taxation.”

Our products are generally sold in glass or PET bottles or aluminum or steel cans. Legal requirements apply in various jurisdictions in which we operate, requiring that deposits or certain eco-taxes or fees are charged for the sale, marketing and use of certain non-refillable beverage containers. The precise requirements imposed by these measures vary. Other types of beverage-container-related deposit, recycling, eco-tax and/or extended producer responsibility statutes and regulations also apply in various jurisdictions in which we operate.

We are subject to different environmental legislation and controls in each of the countries in which we operate. Environmental laws in the countries in which we operate mostly relate to (i) the conformity of our operating procedures with environmental standards regarding, among other things, the emission of gas and liquid effluents, (ii) the disposal of one-way (that is, non-returnable) packaging and (iii) noise levels. We believe that the regulatory climate in most countries in which we operate is becoming increasingly strict with respect to environmental issues and expect this trend to continue in the future. Achieving compliance with applicable environmental standards and legislation may require plant modifications and capital expenditures. Laws and regulations may also limit noise levels and the disposal of waste, as well as impose waste treatment and disposal requirements. Some of the jurisdictions in which we operate have laws and regulations that require polluters or site owners or occupants to clean up contamination.

The amount of dividends payable to us by our operating subsidiaries is, in certain countries, subject to exchange control restrictions of the respective jurisdictions where those subsidiaries are organized and operate. See also “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—G. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Transfers from Subsidiaries,” and “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—We are exposed to developing market risks, including the risks of devaluation, nationalization and inflation.”

 

12. INSURANCE

We self-insure most of our insurable risk. However, we do purchase insurance for directors’ and officers’ liability and other coverage where required by law or contract or where considered to be in our best interest. Under the Co-operation Agreement (as defined herein), we have procured the provision of directors’ and officers’ liability insurance for former directors and officers of SAB for a period of six years following the completion of the combination with SAB. We maintain a comprehensive approach to insurable risk, which is mainly divided in two general categories:

 

    Assets: a combination of self-insurance and insurance is used to cover our physical properties and business interruption; and

 

    Liabilities: a combination of self-insurance and insurance is used to cover losses due to damages caused to third parties; for executive risks (risks related to our board and management) and automobile insurance (which is required by law in most jurisdictions).

 

55


Table of Contents

We believe we have an adequate approach to insurable risk based on our market capitalization and our worldwide presence. We further believe that the types and level of insurance we maintain are appropriate for the risks of our business.

 

13. SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY MATTERS

Our Dream is to Bring People Together for a Better World. In all we do, we strive to ensure that we produce the highest-quality products, provide the best consumer experience, and maximize shareholder value by building the strongest competitive and financial position.

Through our reach, resources and energy, we are addressing the needs of our communities through:

 

    Improving environmental & community sustainability;

 

    Promoting smart drinking;

 

    Increasing workplace safety; and

 

    Business ethics.

Improving environmental & community sustainability

We depend on natural resources to brew our beers and strive to use resources responsibly and preserve them for the future. That is why we factor sustainability into how we do business, including how we source energy and raw materials. We develop innovative programs across our supply chain to improve our sustainability performance with our business partners. To improve lives in the communities we are part of, we also support the farmers and small retailers in our value chain to help them be more productive. To facilitate progress, we combined our sustainability and procurement activities under a single function led by a member of our Executive Board of Management (EBM).

Helping entrepreneurial small businesses grow and thrive

As part of our commitment to help communities thrive, we have a responsibility to help the small businesses in our supply chain. From the suppliers that help power our production to the retailers that connect with our consumers every day, small businesses play a vital role as an engine of economic growth and employment. They are critical to the success of our business operations.

We value our relationships with our small business partners and recognize the challenges many face in sustaining and growing their operations, such as limited business skills and the need for affordable financial services and infrastructure. As their business partner, we believe we can help them address these barriers to unlock their entrepreneurial potential and enable us to grow together.

In 2017, we evolved our small retailer development program to holistically focus on business skills, financial inclusion and infrastructure development. Aligned to this, we launched the Creciendo por un Sueño (“Growing by a Dream”) program to empower 80,000 women-run small retailers in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador with access to business skills training and affordable financial services to help improve their livelihoods and business operations.

In 2017, South African Breweries launched an entrepreneurship program with an ambitious goal to create 10,000 jobs over five years. Working in partnership with NGOs, government and the private sector, the program supports entrepreneurs to develop and grow their business, and offers opportunities for them to become part of South African Breweries’ supply chain. The initiative aims to contribute to South Africa’s national agenda of growing the economy through jobs and offer tailored support for youth and women.

 

56


Table of Contents

SmartBarley

About half of our malt barley is locally sourced to reduce the risk of supply chain disruption and exposure to currency volatility, while boosting rural economies and strengthening agriculture. We developed our SmartBarley program to cultivate quality, local barley by accelerating innovations that can improve crop productivity and enhance grower livelihoods. Since 2014, over 5,000 farmers have participated in this program across 12 countries.

Supporting Smallholder Farmers

Agriculture is a critical source of income and livelihoods in a number of markets in Africa. In Uganda, Eagle Lager is an affordable, locally produced beer brewed with sorghum, traditionally a subsistence crop. By developing a new beer brand and value chain using locally grown sorghum, we have been helping to create a secure income stream for smallholder farmers. Eagle Lager’s market share has grown significantly and now accounts for more than half of our volumes in Uganda.

Buy A Lady A Drink

The Stella Artois Buy A Lady A Drink initiative, launched in 2015 in partnership with Water.org, challenges consumers to be the generation that ends the global water crisis. Each purchase of a limited-edition Stella Artois chalice helps provide one woman in the developing world with five years of clean water. To date, Stella Artois has helped Water.org provide more than 1 million people in the developing world with access to clean water through the sale of more than 500,000 Limited-Edition Chalices and by directly donating more than USD 8 million to Water.org.

Watershed Protection

We continue to scale our water stewardship efforts by engaging in watershed protection measures, in partnership with local stakeholders, in high-stress areas across Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, the United States and Zambia. Together with local authorities, other water users, and non-governmental organizations like the World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy, we have devoted financial and technical resources to green infrastructure initiatives, conservation and reforestation projects, habitat restoration efforts, and soil conservation techniques. Through these initiatives, we seek to increase water security and improve water quality and availability for our communities and operations.

Renewable Energy

We are one of the world’s largest corporate buyers of electricity, a member of the RE100 and we are committed to a plan to significantly increase our use of renewable energy in our breweries and vertical operations to reduce our carbon emissions and long-term energy cost, improve air quality and create jobs in the renewable energy industry. In December 2016, we signed a contract to acquire 100% of our purchased electricity needs from wind power in our Mexico breweries and vertical operations plants by April 2019. In September 2017, we announced an agreement with Enel Green Power where we committed to purchasing as much renewable electricity as is used to brew more than 20 billion 12-ounce servings of beer.

Recycling

We are driving and protecting the circular economy of our industry by increasing the amount of reused or recycled materials in our packaging and recovering more post-consumer waste. We aim to work with partners, suppliers and retailers across our value chain in this effort. Packaging, such as returnable glass bottles, is an important component of this effort, and increasing recycling, recovery and reuse also helps avoid loss of value.

 

57


Table of Contents

Global Environment Goals

In 2013, we announced seven global goals that focus on operational efficiencies and key areas outside the brewery walls that are vital to our business and our stakeholders. We added an additional goal focused on logistics in 2014. In 2017, we achieved the last of our eight environmental goals we set for ourselves, but our work is ongoing. The global environmental goals achieved between 2013 and 2017 are:

 

    reduce water risks and improve water management in 100% of our key barley-growing regions in partnership with local stakeholders;

 

    engage in watershed protection measures at 100% of our facilities located in key areas in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Mexico, Peru and the United States, in partnership with local stakeholders;

 

    reduce global water usage to a leading-edge 3.2 hectoliters of water per hectoliter of production;

 

    reduce global greenhouse gas emissions per hectoliter of production by 10%, including a 15% reduction per hectoliter in China;

 

    reduce global energy usage per hectoliter of production by 10%, which is equivalent to the amount of electricity needed to light about a quarter of a million night football matches;

 

    reduce packaging materials by 100,000 tons, which is equivalent to the weight of about a quarter of a billion full cans of beer;

 

    reach a 70% global average of eco-friendly cooler purchases annually; and

 

    reduce carbon emissions in our logistics operations by 15%.

Other Initiatives

We are also engaged with the international community and local groups to support key environmental initiatives. We recognize the critical role that companies can play in addressing some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges, such as water scarcity and climate change. We are a signatory to the CEO Water Mandate, a public/private initiative of the United Nations Global Compact, which focuses on developing corporate strategies to address global water issues. We actively work to better understand and manage climate change and water risks across our supply chain and publicly report our risks and opportunities to the Carbon Disclosure Project.

We take a multifaceted approach that includes applying a mix of operational changes and technological solutions, building effective partnerships and having a sustainability-focused mindset, underscored by strong teamwork, in order to help reduce the use of water in our direct operations, to help protect watersheds that serve our breweries and local communities and to help improve water management in our barley supply chain.

We are members of the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable, a technical coalition of leading global beverage companies working together to advance environmental sustainability within the beverage sector. We are members of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative, a global food industry organization that supports the development of sustainable agriculture through the involvement of food chain stakeholders. In addition, we are active participants in the United Nations Environment Program’s annual World Environment Day, through which we engage annually with many community stakeholders around the world.

Energy conservation has been a strategic focus for us for many years, especially with the unpredictable cost of energy and evolving climate change regulations. Our continued progress is based on the importance we place on sharing best technical and management practices across our operations. We publicly report our risks and opportunities related to climate change to the Carbon Disclosure Project.

 

58


Table of Contents

Promoting smart drinking

Part of our dream for a better world is aspiring to make every experience with beer a positive one. Through our Global Smart Drinking Goals, launched in 2015, we aim to reduce the harmful use of alcohol and foster a culture of smart drinking and road safety globally. We are aligned with the World Health Organization’s global target of a 10% or greater reduction in the harmful use of alcohol by 2025, as well as with this area of focus within the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Smart Drinking

As the world’s leading brewer, we are committed to promoting the responsible enjoyment of our products. To support that commitment, we develop and implement alcohol education and awareness programs, while opposing the harmful use of alcohol, including underage drinking, excessive drinking and drunk driving.

In 2014, we successfully met or exceeded all six of the original Global Responsible Drinking Goals we set for ourselves in 2011. This set of goals included collaborations with a wide range of partners, public education initiatives, retailer training and other activities that reinforced responsible drinking.

In 2015, after four years of working towards the achievement of our original Global Responsible Drinking Goals and after more than 30 years of investing in efforts to promote responsible drinking and discourage the harmful uses of alcohol, we reflected on our progress and lessons learned through our experiences. We acknowledged the accomplishments that we made through strategic partnerships, public education initiatives and joint efforts with retailers, all focused on driving awareness of alcohol responsibility, and we determined that, by taking an evolved approach to positively changing behavior by investing in longer-term, evidence-based approaches, we have an opportunity to continue to make an impact on underage drinking, binge drinking and drunk driving.

With this as our vision, in 2015 we launched our new set of Global Smart Drinking Goals (2015–2025), which focus on two key areas: changing behaviors through social norms and empowering consumers through choice.

In order to achieve our vision of a global culture of smart drinking, we aim to implement effective and collaborative solutions through our four established goals:

 

    reduce the harmful use of alcohol by at least 10% in six cities by the end of 2020 (the “City Pilot Initiative”) and implement best practices globally by the end of 2025;

 

    influence social norms and individual behaviors to reduce harmful alcohol use by investing at least USD 1 billion across our markets in dedicated social marketing campaigns and related programs by the end of 2025;

 

    ensure no-alcohol (by which we mean ABV 0.0%-0.5%) and lower-alcohol (by which we mean ABV 0.51%-3.5%) beer products represent at least 20% of our global beer volume by the end of 2025; and

 

    place a guidance label on all of our beer products in all of our markets by the end of 2020 and increase alcohol health literacy by the end of 2025.

We are aligned with the World Health Organization’s global target of a 10% or greater reduction in the harmful use of alcohol by 2025, as well as with this area of focus within the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

As part of the City Pilot Initiative of the Global Smart Drinking Goals, launches were held in the communities of Zacatecas, Mexico; Leuven, Belgium; Jiangshan, China; Brasilia, Brazil and Columbus, Ohio (United States). A new city in South Africa will be the sixth city to join the initiative, and will be confirmed in 2018. Additional specific information related to progress on our Global Smart Drinking Goals will be communicated annually in our Annual Report, and on our website.

These cities were chosen based on a combination of factors, including: our strong presence; evidence suggesting an acute need; the presence of the political will necessary to implement the programs; and the presence of local organizations with relevant technical expertise. To help measure progress and report on our impact, in 2016

 

59


Table of Contents

we began independent baseline studies for these cities, measuring current alcohol use and attitudes toward drinking. We are combining our research with public-private partnerships to help find, test and measure effective interventions. If successful, we will introduce these methodologies in more markets.

After our combination with SAB we expanded our Global Smart Drinking Goals and went beyond six pilot cities. In 2017, we launched targeted intervention programs in three additional cities: El Alto, Bolivia; Bogota, Colombia and Gurugram, India.

To further advance our Global Smart Drinking Goals, we established the AB InBev Foundation in 2017. The Foundation focuses on four areas: supporting transparent and verifiable monitoring and evaluation of our Global Smart Drinking Goals; supporting implementation of our City Pilots program with science-based interventions and technical advice; promoting the education of health care professionals; and advancing alcohol health literacy as one way to reduce harmful alcohol consumption. The AB InBev Foundation works with a technical advisory group of experts to ensure that the programs and initiatives launched in support of our goals are credible, impactful and shared globally. The AB InBev Foundation has a Board of Directors that has a majority of independent members, and that works with a technical advisory group of experts to ensure that the programs and initiatives launched in support of our goals are credible, impactful and shared globally.

Investing in road safety

Around the world, we invest in innovative programs to improve road safety and reduce injuries and fatalities from traffic accidents. This work is aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

Safe roads are also a high priority for governments and advocacy groups, and we are strengthening the impact of our efforts through partnerships. These include our leadership in Together for Safer Roads (“TSR”), a private-sector coalition focused on safer companies and fleets, addressing local road safety challenges, data collection and management and advocacy and thought leadership.

Within our operations, we have made significant investments in our fleet technology and driver training to improve road safety performance, which in turn improves community safety.

Increasing workplace safety

We are committed to doing everything possible to create a safe work environment. We encourage employees and contractors to follow safe practices and make healthy choices in our workplaces and local communities.

Business ethics

Our leaders set the tone for our company. We expect them to deliver results and to inspire our colleagues through passion for brewing and a sense of ownership. Most importantly, we never take shortcuts. Integrity, hard work, quality and responsibility are essential to our growth.

Our People

It takes great people to build a great company. That is why we focus on attracting and retaining the best talent. Our approach is to enhance our people’s skills and potential through education and training, competitive compensation and a culture of ownership that rewards people for taking responsibility and producing results. Our ownership culture unites our people, providing the necessary energy, commitment and alignment needed to pursue our Dream of Bringing People Together for a Better World.

Having the right people in the right roles at the right time—aligned through a clear goal-setting and rewards process—improves productivity and enables us to continue to invest in our business and strengthen our social responsibility initiatives.

 

60


Table of Contents

Acting in our communities

Volunteering is one of the best ways to bring people together for a better world. In communities around the world—both large and small—our people are passionate about helping communities to grow and prosper. We encourage these efforts through regional and global volunteering initiatives that are often also open to our families, friends, partners and consumers.

One key global program is Global Be(er) Responsible Day, which in 2017 engaged more than 60,000 colleagues worldwide to promote awareness about smart drinking. Together, we spread smart drinking messages to more than 162,000 consumers on one day through direct interactions. This helped generate over 100 million social media impressions, and engaged with more than one million of our points of consumption, retailers and wholesalers throughout the month of September.

Our local teams also organized their own volunteering efforts. In Mexico, 36,803 colleagues, and an additional 147,212 non-employee volunteers, took part in our Voluntarios Modelo program, which won a UN Global Compact Award.

Supporting disaster response

In 2017, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires and other natural disasters struck with great force and frequency in many countries. We supported disaster relief and recovery efforts, including through water donations, funds for reconstruction, equipment, fuel and other assets, and volunteering. In Mexico, we provided more than 400 company trucks to transport donated food and supplies after September’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake. We also donated the proceeds from the sale of 3 million limited-edition Corona bottles. In the US, we halted the production of beer to produce and donate more than 2.9 million cans of water to affected areas through our partnership with the American Red Cross.

C. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

Anheuser Busch InBev SA/NV is the parent company of the AB InBev Group. Our most significant subsidiaries (as of 31 December 2017) are:

 

Subsidiary Name

   Jurisdiction of
incorporation
or residence
   Proportion of
ownership
interest
    Proportion
of voting
rights held
 

Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC

   Delaware,

U.S.A.

     100     100

One Busch Place

       

St. Louis, MO 63118

       

Ambev S.A.

   Brazil      61.9     61.9

Rua Dr. Renato Paes de Barros 1017

       

3° Andar Itaim Bibi

       

São Paulo, Brazil

       

Cervecería Modelo de México, S. de R.L. de C.V.

   Mexico      100     100

Javier Barros Sierra No. 555 Piso 3

       

Zedec Santa Fe, 01210 Mexico City, Mexico

       

ABI SAB Group Holding Limited

   United Kingdom      100     100

AB InBev House, Church Street West

       

Woking GU21 6HT, United Kingdom

       

For a more comprehensive list of our most important financing and operating subsidiaries, see note 37 of our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017.

 

61


Table of Contents

D. PROPERTY, PLANTS AND EQUIPMENT

For a further discussion of property, plants and equipment, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Climate change or other environmental concerns, or legal, regulatory or market measures to address climate change or other environmental concerns, may negatively affect our business or operations, including the availability of key production inputs,” “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—6. Brewing Process; Raw Materials and Packaging; Production Facilities; Logistics—Capacity Expansion,” “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—G. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Capital Expenditures” and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review—J. Outlook and Trend Information.”

 

ITEM 4A. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

 

ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW

The following is a review of our financial condition and results of operations as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017, and of the key factors that have affected or are expected to be likely to affect our ongoing and future operations. You should read the following discussion and analysis in conjunction with our audited consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes included elsewhere in this Form 20-F.

Some of the information contained in this discussion, including information with respect to our plans and strategies for our business and our expected sources of financing, contain forward-looking statements that involve risk and uncertainties. You should read “Forward-Looking Statements” for a discussion of the risks related to those statements. You should also read “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” for a discussion of certain factors that may affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We have prepared our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017, in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board, and in conformity with International Financial Reporting Standards as adopted by the European Union (“IFRS”). The financial information and related discussion and analysis contained in this item are presented in U.S. dollars except as otherwise specified. Unless otherwise specified the financial information analysis in this Form 20-F is based on our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017.

See “Presentation of Financial and Other Data” for further information on our presentation of financial information.

A. KEY FACTORS AFFECTING RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

We consider acquisitions, divestitures and other structural changes, economic conditions and pricing, consumer preferences, our product mix, raw material and transport prices, the effect of our distribution arrangements, excise taxes, the effect of governmental regulations, foreign currency effects and weather and seasonality to be the key factors influencing the results of our operations. The following sections discuss these key factors.

Acquisitions, Divestitures and Other Structural Changes

We regularly engage in acquisitions, divestitures and investments. We also engage in start-up or termination of activities and may transfer activities between business segments. Such events have had and are expected to continue to have a significant effect on our results of operations and the comparability of period-to-period results. Significant acquisitions, divestitures, investments, transfers of activities between business segments and other structural changes in the years ended 31 December 2017, 2016 and 2015 are described below. See also note 6 and note 8 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017 included in this Form 20-F.

 

62


Table of Contents

Grupo Modelo Combination

During the first quarter of 2015, Constellation Brands, Inc. notified us that it was exercising its rights under the final judgment issued in connection with our purchase of Grupo Modelo to require us to sell all U.S. local distribution rights held by us at the purchase price formula specified by the final judgment.

In December 2016, we completed the sale of our brewery plant located in Obregón, Sonora, México to Constellation Brands, Inc. for a sale price of approximately USD 600 million.

Acquisition of SAB

On 11 November 2015, the board of former AB InBev and the board of SAB announced that they had reached an agreement on the terms of the combination with SAB.

The combination with SAB was implemented through a series of steps, including the acquisition of SAB by Newbelco, a newly incorporated Belgian company formed for the purposes of the combination with SAB, and completed on 10 October 2016. During the final step of the combination with SAB, former AB InBev merged into Newbelco (the “Belgian Merger”) so that, following completion of the combination with SAB, Newbelco, now named Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, became the new holding company for the Combined Group.

Under the terms of the combination with SAB, each SAB shareholder was entitled to receive GBP 45.00 in cash in respect of each SAB share. The combination with SAB also included a partial share alternative (the “Partial Share Alternative”), under which SAB shareholders could elect to receive GBP 4.6588 in cash and 0.483969 Restricted Shares in respect of each SAB share in lieu of the full cash consideration to which they would otherwise be entitled under the combination with SAB (subject to scaling back in accordance with the terms of the Partial Share Alternative).

The Partial Share Alternative was limited to a maximum of 326,000,000 Restricted Shares and GBP 3,138,153,064 in cash, which was available for approximately 41.6% of the SAB shares. Altria and BEVCO Ltd. (“BEVCO”), which held in aggregate approximately 40% of the ordinary share capital of SAB, gave irrevocable undertakings to us to elect for the Partial Share Alternative in respect of their entire beneficial holdings in SAB.

The combination with SAB was implemented through a series of equity reorganizations:

 

    On 6 October 2016, Newbelco issued 163,276,737,100 ordinary shares (“Initial Newbelco Shares”) to SAB shareholders through a capital increase of EUR 85,531 million (equivalent to GBP 75.4 billion), as consideration for 1,632,767,371 ordinary shares of SAB pursuant to a U.K. law court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement between SAB and the applicable shareholders of SAB under Part 26 of the United Kingdom Companies Act 2006 (the “U.K. Scheme”).

 

    Former AB InBev then made a voluntary cash tender offer pursuant to the Belgian Law of 1 April 2007 on public takeover bids and the Belgian Royal Decree of 27 April 2007 on public takeover bids, for all the Initial Newbelco Shares issued in the U.K. Scheme (the “Belgian Offer”), pursuant to which former AB InBev acquired 102,890,758,014 Initial Newbelco Shares tendered into the Belgian Offer.

 

   

Based on the terms of the U.K. Scheme, all Initial Newbelco Shares not tendered to former AB InBev in the context of the Belgian Offer (i.e. 60,385,979,086 Initial Newbelco Shares) were reclassified into 325,999,817 Restricted Shares, in accordance with the mechanism by which any Initial Newbelco Shares that were retained after closing of the Belgian Offer were automatically reclassified and consolidated. The Restricted Shares are unlisted, not admitted to trading on any stock exchange and are subject to, among other things, restrictions on transfer until converted into Ordinary Shares. Except in limited circumstances, the Restricted Shares will only be convertible at the election of the holder into

 

63


Table of Contents
 

new Ordinary Shares on a one-for-one basis with effect from the fifth anniversary of completion of the combination with SAB. From completion of the combination with SAB, such Restricted Shares will rank equally with the Ordinary Shares with respect to dividends and voting rights. Following completion of the combination with SAB, AB InBev acquired 105,246 SAB shares from option holders that had not exercised their option rights prior to the completion of the combination with SAB for a total consideration of EUR 5 million and now owns 100% of SAB shares.

 

    After the Belgian Offer and, upon completion of the Belgian Merger, all shares acquired by former AB InBev in the Belgian Offer were canceled except for the equivalent of 85,000,000 Ordinary Shares, which were retained by Newbelco and held as treasury after completion of the Belgian Merger, as decided by the general meeting of Newbelco in the notarial deed approving the merger of former AB InBev into Newbelco and in accordance with the Belgian Companies Code.

 

    As a result of the Belgian Merger, the share premium was reduced by EUR 52,522 million (USD 58,510 million) against undistributable reserves, EUR 44,485 million (USD 49,556 million) of such reserves were canceled upon cancellation of the shares acquired by AB InBev in the Belgian Offer, and EUR 8,037 million (USD 8,953 million) undistributable reserves remained outstanding against the 85,000,000 treasury shares in accordance with the Belgian Companies Code.

 

    After the merger, the capital and share premium of Newbelco were further reorganized. Newbelco’s share capital was reduced by EUR 8,553 million (USD 9,528 million) and its issue premium account was reduced by EUR 24,456 million (USD 27,244 million) to create distributable reserves of EUR 33,009 million (USD 36,772 million) as decided by the general meeting of Newbelco in the notarial deed approving the Belgian Merger and in accordance with the Belgian Companies Code. Each such step became effective simultaneously with the Belgian Merger and completion of the combination with SAB.

On 10 October 2016, we announced the completion of the Belgian Merger and the successful completion of the combination with SAB.

As a result of the Belgian Merger, former AB InBev merged into Newbelco, and Newbelco became the holding company for the Combined Group. All assets and liabilities of former AB InBev were transferred to Newbelco, and Newbelco was automatically substituted for former AB InBev in all its rights and obligations by operation of Belgian law. Newbelco was renamed Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, and former AB InBev was dissolved by operation of Belgian law.

In connection with the combination with SAB, shares in former AB InBev were delisted from Euronext Brussels, the Bolsa Mexicana de Valores and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Our Ordinary Shares were admitted to listing and trading on Euronext Brussels, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the Bolsa Mexicana de Valores at the opening of business in each market on 11 October 2016. In addition, ADSs trading on the New York Stock Exchange, each of which used to represent one Ordinary Share of former AB InBev, now each represent one of our Ordinary Shares, effective as of the opening of business in New York on 11 October 2016.

We now own 100% of the SAB shares; our share capital amounts to EUR 1,238,608,344 and is represented by 2,019,241,973 shares without nominal value, of which 85,541,785 are held in treasury by AB InBev and its subsidiaries. All of our shares are Ordinary Shares, except for 325,999,817 Restricted Shares.

In accordance with IFRS, the combination with SAB was considered for accounting purposes as a reverse acquisition, by operation of which Newbelco legally absorbed the assets and liabilities of former AB InBev. As a consequence, the legal acquirer (Newbelco) was considered the accounting acquiree and the legal acquiree (former AB InBev) is considered the accounting acquirer. Therefore, the consolidated financial statements represent the continuation of the financial statements of former AB InBev. The assets and liabilities of former AB InBev remained recognized at their pre-combination carrying amounts.

 

64


Table of Contents

The SAB purchase consideration is calculated as follows:

 

     Newbelco number
of shares
     Newbelco
valuation in
million pound
sterling
     Newbelco
valuation in
million euro
 

Tender offer (cash consideration)

     102,890,758,014        46,301        52,522  

Converted to Restricted Shares

     60,385,979,086        29,099        33,009 (i) 
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 
     163,276,737,100        75,400        85,531  

Total equity value at offer in euro

 

     85,531  

Purchase from option holders in euro

 

     5  
  

 

 

 

Total equity value in euro

 

     85,536  

Total equity value in U.S. dollar

 

     95,288  

Foreign exchange hedges and other in U.S. dollar

 

     7,848 (ii) 
  

 

 

 

Purchase consideration in U.S. dollar

 

     103,136  

Add: fair market value of total debt assumed in U.S. dollar

 

     11,870  

Less: total cash acquired in U.S. dollar

 

     (1,198
  

 

 

 

Gross purchase consideration in U.S. dollar

 

     113,808  

 

Notes

 

(i) The Restricted Share valuation is based on the valuation of the Newbelco shares that were not tendered into the Belgian Offer and has regard to the share price of former AB InBev on the day of the closing of the combination with SAB, adjusted for the specificities of the Restricted Shares in line with fair value measurement rules under IFRS.
(ii) During 2015 and 2016, we entered into derivative foreign exchange forward contracts, as well as other non-derivative items also documented in a hedge accounting relationship, in order to economically hedge against exposure to changes in the U.S. dollar exchange rate for the cash component of the purchase consideration in pound sterling and South African rand. Although these derivatives and non-derivative items were considered to be economic hedges, only a portion of such derivatives could qualify for hedge accounting under IFRS rules. Since inception of the derivative contracts in 2015 and upon the completion of the combination with SAB, USD 12.3 billion negative mark-to-market adjustment related to such hedging were recognized cumulatively over 2015 and 2016, of which USD 7.4 billion qualified for hedge accounting and was, accordingly, allocated as part of the consideration paid. The settlement of the portion of the derivatives that did not qualify as hedge accounting was classified as cash flow from financing activities in the consolidated cash flow statement.

We financed the cash consideration of the combination with SAB with USD 18.0 billion drawn down under a USD 75.0 billion Senior Facilities Agreement dated 28 October 2015 (the “2015 Senior Facilities Agreement”), together with the excess liquidity resulting from the issuance of bonds in 2016. See “—G. Liquidity and Capital Resources” and note 24 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017 for more information.

The transaction costs incurred in connection with the combination with SAB, which include transaction taxes, advisory, legal, audit, valuation and other fees and costs, amounted to approximately USD 1.0 billion. In addition we incurred approximately USD 0.7 billion of costs in connection with the transaction-related financing arrangements.

On 11 October 2016, we completed the sale of SAB’s interest in MillerCoors LLC (a joint venture in the United States and Puerto Rico between Molson Coors Brewing Company and SAB) and in the Miller Global Brand Business to Molson Coors Brewing Company. The total transaction was valued at USD 12 billion, subject to a downward purchase price adjustment. We set up a provision of USD 330 million as part of the opening balance sheet related to the purchase price adjustment. The parties entered into a settlement agreement on 21 January 2018 for USD 330 million of which USD 328 million constitutes the purchase price adjustment amount.

 

65


Table of Contents

On 11 October 2016, we completed the sale of SAB’s Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime brand families and their associated business (excluding certain rights in the United States) to Asahi. The offer valued the Peroni, Grolsch, and Meantime brand families and associated businesses in Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and internationally at EUR 2,550 million on a debt free/cash-free basis.

On 11 October 2016, we completed the sale of 49% interest in CR Snow to China Resources Beer (Holdings) Co. Ltd., which previously owned 51% of CR Snow. The transaction valued SAB’s 49% stake in CR Snow at USD 1.6 billion.

On 31 March 2017, we completed the sale of SAB’s assets in Central and Eastern Europe (Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland) to Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd. for EUR 7.3 billion.

On 12 April 2017, we completed the sale of our interests in Distell Group Limited (“Distell”) (comprised of 58,674,000 ordinary shares or approximately 26.4% of Distell’s issued share capital) to the Public Investment Corporation (SOC) Limited, acting on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund.

In 2017, we completed the purchase price allocation to the individual assets acquired and liabilities assumed as part of the combination with SAB, including the allocation of goodwill to the different business units, in compliance with IFRS 3 Business Combinations. The combination with SAB resulted in the recognition of USD 72.4 billion of goodwill allocated primarily to the businesses in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Australia, South Africa and other African, Asia Pacific and Latin American countries. The valuation of the property, plant and equipment, intangible assets, investment in associates, interest bearing loans and borrowings, employee benefits, other assets and liabilities and non-controlling interests was based on our best estimate of fair value with input from independent third parties.

The factors that contributed to the recognition of goodwill include the acquisition of an assembled workforce and the premiums paid for cost synergies expected to be achieved in SAB. Our assessment of the future economic benefits supporting recognition of this goodwill is in part based on expected savings through the implementation of best practices such as, among others, a zero based budgeting program and initiatives that are expected to bring greater efficiency and standardization, generate cost savings and maximize purchasing power. Goodwill also arises due to the recognition of deferred tax liabilities in relation to the preliminary fair value adjustments on acquired intangible assets for which the amortization does not qualify as a tax deductible expense. None of the goodwill recognized is deductible for tax purposes.

See also notes 6 and 14 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017.

Completion of the disposal of CCBA

On 4 October 2017, we announced the completion of the transition of our 54.5% equity stake in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (“CCBA”) for USD 3.15 billion, after customary adjustments. We stopped consolidating CCBA in our consolidated financial statements as of that date.

CCBA, the largest Coca-Cola bottler in Africa, was formed in 2016 through the combination of the African non-alcohol ready-to-drink bottling interests of SAB, The Coca-Cola Company and Gutsche Family Investments. It includes the countries of South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Ghana, Mayotte, and Comoros.

Following completion, CCBA will remain subject to the agreement reached with the South African Government and the South African Competition Authorities on several conditions, all of which were previously announced. In addition, together with The Coca-Cola Company, we continue to work towards finalizing the terms and conditions of the agreement for The Coca-Cola Company to acquire our interest in, or the bottling operations of, our businesses in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, El Salvador, and Honduras. These transactions are subject to the relevant regulatory and shareholder approvals in the different jurisdictions.

 

66


Table of Contents

Other Acquisitions, Divestiture and Structural Changes

In February 2015, we announced the entry into an agreement with RJ Corp Limited under which we would exit our Indian joint venture with RJ Corp Limited. Later in February 2015, we exited the Indian joint venture. We now operate independently in India via our wholly owned subsidiary Crown Beers India Private Limited and other legal entities.

During 2016, we completed the acquisition of the Canadian rights to a range of primarily near beer and ciders from Mark Anthony Group. In a separate transaction, Mark Anthony Group agreed to sell certain non-U.S. and non-Canadian trademark rights and other intellectual property to one of our subsidiaries. The aggregate purchase price of such acquisitions was approximately USD 413 million. Mark Anthony Group retains full ownership of its U.S. business, as well as the Canadian wine, spirits and beer import and distribution business.

In December 2016, we entered into an agreement with Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. to establish a joint venture for conducting research and development of an in-home alcohol drink system, focusing on the United States and Canadian markets. The transaction, which closed in the first quarter of 2017, included the contribution of intellectual property and manufacturing assets from Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. Pursuant to the terms of the joint venture agreement, we own 70% of the voting and economic interest in the joint venture. Under IFRS, this transaction was accounted for as a business combination as we were deemed as the accounting acquirer as per IFRS rules.

During 2015, 2016 and 2017, we undertook a series of additional acquisitions and disposals with no significant impact to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017 included in this Form 20-F.

In addition to the acquisitions and divestitures described above, we may acquire, purchase or dispose of further assets or businesses in our normal course of operations. Accordingly, the financial information presented in this Form 20-F may not reflect the scope of our business as it will be conducted in the future.

Economic Conditions and Pricing

General economic conditions in the geographic regions in which we sell our products, such as the level of disposable income, the level of inflation, the rate of economic growth, the rate of unemployment, exchange rates and currency devaluation or revaluation, influence consumer confidence and consumer purchasing power. These factors, in turn, influence the demand for our products in terms of total volumes sold and the price that can be charged. This is particularly true for developing countries in our Latin America West, Latin America North, Latin America South and Asia Pacific regions, as well as certain countries in our EMEA region, which tend to have lower disposable income per capita and may be subject to greater economic volatility than our markets in North America and developed countries in EMEA. The level of inflation has been particularly significant in our Latin America North and Latin America South regions and in certain countries within the EMEA region. For instance, Brazil has periodically experienced extremely high rates of inflation. In 1993, the annual rate of inflation, as measured by the National Consumer Price Index (Indice Nacional de Preços ao Consumidor), reached a hyperinflationary peak of 2,489%. As measured by the same index, Brazilian inflation was approximately 2.07% in 2017. Similarly, Argentina has, in the past, experienced periods of hyperinflation. Argentine inflation in 1989 was 4,924% according to the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos. As measured by the Fundación de Investigaciones Económicas Latinoamericanas, in 2017, Argentine inflation was approximately 26.6%. Consequently, a central element of our strategy for achieving sustained profitable volume growth is our ability to anticipate changes in local economic conditions and their impact on consumer demand in order to achieve the optimal combination of pricing and sales volume.

In addition to affecting demand for our products, the general economic conditions described above may cause consumer preferences to shift between on-trade consumption channels, such as restaurants and cafés, bars, sports and leisure venues and hotels, and off-trade consumption channels, such as traditional grocery stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets and discount stores. Products sold in off-trade consumption channels typically generate higher volumes and lower margins per retail outlet than those sold in on-trade consumption channels, although on-trade

 

67


Table of Contents

consumption channels typically require higher levels of investment. The relative profitability of on-trade and off-trade consumption channels varies depending on various factors, including costs of invested capital and the distribution arrangements in the different countries in which we operate. A shift in consumer preferences towards lower-margin products may adversely affect our price realization and profit margins.

Consumer Preferences

We are a consumer products company, and our results of operations largely depend on our ability to respond effectively to shifting consumer preferences. Consumer preferences may shift due to a variety of factors, including changes in demographics, changes in social trends, such as consumer health concerns, product attributes and ingredients, changes in travel, vacation or leisure activity patterns, weather or negative publicity resulting from regulatory action or litigation.

Product Mix

The results of our operations are substantially affected by our ability to build on our strong family of brands by relaunching or reinvigorating existing brands in current markets, launching existing brands in new markets and introducing brand extensions and packaging alternatives for our existing brands, as well as our ability to both acquire and develop innovative local products to respond to changing consumer preferences. Strong, well-recognized brands that attract and retain consumers, for which consumers are willing to pay a premium, are critical to our efforts to maintain and increase market share and benefit from high margins. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—2. Principal Activities and Products—Beer” for further information regarding our brands.

Raw Material and Transport Prices

We have significant exposure to fluctuations in the prices of raw materials, packaging materials, energy and transport services, each of which may significantly impact our cost of sales or distribution expenses. Increased costs or distribution expenses will reduce our profit margins if we are unable to recover these additional costs from our customers through higher prices (see “—Economic Conditions and Pricing”).

The main raw materials used in our beer and other alcoholic malt beverage production are malted barley, corn grits, corn syrup, rice, hops and water, while those used in our non-beer production are flavored concentrate, fruit concentrate, sugar, sweetener and water. In some of our regions, such as in Africa, locally-sourced agricultural products, such as sorghum or cassava, are used in place of malted barley. In addition to these inputs into our products, delivery of our products to consumers requires extensive use of packaging materials, such as glass, PET and aluminum bottles, aluminum or steel cans and kegs, labels, plastic crates, metal and plastic closures, folding cartons, cardboard products and plastic films.

The price of the raw and packaging materials that we use in our operations is determined by, among other factors, the level of crop production (both in the countries in which we are active and elsewhere in the world), weather conditions, supplier’s capacity utilization, end-user demand, governmental regulations, and legislation affecting agriculture and trade. We are also exposed to increases in fuel and other energy prices through our own and third-party distribution networks and production operations. Furthermore, we are exposed to increases in raw material transport costs charged by suppliers. Increases in the prices of our products could affect demand among consumers, and thus our sales volumes and revenue. Even though we seek to minimize the impact of such fluctuations through financial and physical hedging, the results of our hedging activities may vary across time.

As further discussed under “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk—Market Risk, Hedging and Financial Instruments,” we use both fixed-price purchasing contracts and commodity derivatives to minimize our exposure to commodity price volatility when practicable. Fixed-price contracts generally have a term of one to two years although a small number of contracts have a term up to five years. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—6. Brewing Process; Raw Materials and Packaging; Production Facilities; Logistics—Raw Materials and Packaging” for further details regarding our arrangements for sourcing of raw and packaging materials.

 

68


Table of Contents

Distribution Arrangements

We depend on effective distribution networks to deliver our products to our customers. Generally, we distribute our products through (i) own distribution, in which we deliver to points of sale directly, and (ii) third-party distribution networks, in which delivery to points of sale occurs through wholesalers and independent distributors. Third-party distribution networks may be exclusive or non-exclusive and may, in certain business segments, involve use of third-party distribution while we retain the sales function through an agency framework. We use different distribution networks in the markets in which we operate, as appropriate, based on the structure of the local retail sectors, local geographic considerations, scale considerations, regulatory requirements, market share and the expected added-value and capital returns.

Although specific results may vary depending on the relevant distribution arrangement and market, in general, the use of own distribution or third-party distribution networks will have the following effects on our results of operations:

 

    Revenue. Revenue per hectoliter derived from sales through own distribution tends to be higher than revenue derived from sales through third parties. In general, under own distribution, we receive a higher price for our products since we are selling directly to points of sale, capturing the margin that would otherwise be retained by intermediaries;

 

    Transportation costs. In our own distribution networks, we sell our products to the point of sale and incur additional freight costs in transporting those products between our plant and such points of sale. Such costs are included in our distribution expenses under IFRS. In most of our own distribution networks, we use third-party transporters and incur costs through payments to these transporters, which are also included in our distribution expenses under IFRS. In third-party distribution networks, our distribution expenses are generally limited to expenses incurred in delivering our products to relevant wholesalers or independent distributors in those circumstances in which we make deliveries; and

 

    Sales expenses. Under fully third-party distribution systems, the salesperson is generally an employee of the distributor, while under our own distribution and indirect agency networks, the salesperson is generally our employee. To the extent that we deliver our products to points of sale through direct or indirect agency distribution networks, we will incur additional sales expenses from the hiring of additional employees (which may offset to a certain extent increased revenue gained as a result of own distribution).

In addition, in certain countries, we enter into exclusive importer arrangements and depend on our counterparties to these arrangements to market and distribute our products to points of sale. To the extent that we rely on counterparties to distribution agreements to distribute our products in particular countries or regions, the results of our operations in those countries and regions will, in turn, be substantially dependent on our counterparties’ own distribution networks operating effectively.

Excise Taxes

Taxation on our beer, other alcoholic beverage and non-beer products in the countries in which we operate is comprised of different taxes specific to each jurisdiction, such as excise and other indirect taxes. In many jurisdictions, excise and other indirect duties, including legislation regarding minimum alcohol pricing, make up a large proportion of the cost of beer charged to customers. Increases in excise and other indirect taxes applicable to our products either on an absolute basis or relative to the levels applicable to other beverages tend to adversely affect our revenue or margins, both by reducing overall consumption and by encouraging consumers to switch to lower-taxed categories of beverages. These increases also adversely affect the affordability of our products and our ability to raise prices. For example, see the discussion of taxes in the United States, Russia and Ukraine in “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—We may be subject to adverse changes in taxation.”

 

69


Table of Contents

Governmental Regulations

Governmental restrictions on beer consumption in the markets in which we operate vary from one country to another, and, in some instances, within countries. The most relevant restrictions are:

 

    Legal drinking ages;

 

    Global and national alcohol policy reviews and the implementation of policies aimed at preventing the harmful effects of alcohol misuse (including, among others, relating to underage drinking, drunk driving, drinking while pregnant and excessive or abusive drinking);

 

    Restrictions on sales of alcohol generally or beer specifically, including restrictions on distribution networks, restrictions on certain retail venues, requirements that retail stores hold special licenses for the sale of alcohol, restrictions on times or days of sale and minimum alcohol pricing requirements;

 

    Advertising restrictions, which affect, among other things, the media channels employed, the content of advertising campaigns for our products and the times and places where our products can be advertised, including, in some instances, sporting events;

 

    Restrictions imposed by antitrust or competition laws;

 

    Deposit laws (including those for bottles, crates and kegs);

 

    Heightened environmental regulations and standards, including regulations addressing emissions of gas and liquid effluents and the disposal of waste and one-way packaging, compliance with which imposes costs; and

 

    Litigation associated with any of the above.

Please refer to “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—11. Regulations Affecting Our Business” for a fuller description of the key laws and regulations to which our operations are subject.

Foreign Currency

Our financial statements presentation and reporting currency is the U.S. dollar. A number of our operating companies have functional currencies (that is, in most cases, the local currency of the respective operating company) other than our reporting currency. Consequently, foreign currency exchange rates have a significant impact on our consolidated financial statements. In particular:

 

    Changes in the value of our operating companies’ functional currencies against other currencies in which their costs and expenses are priced may affect those operating companies’ cost of sales and operating expenses, and thus negatively impact their operating margins in functional currency terms. Foreign currency transactions are accounted for at exchange rates prevailing at the date of the transactions, while monetary assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies are translated at the balance sheet date. Except for exchange differences on transactions entered into in order to hedge certain foreign currency risk and exchange rate differences on monetary items that form part of the net investment in the foreign operations, gains and losses resulting from the settlement of foreign currency transactions and from the translation of monetary assets and liabilities in currencies other than an operating company’s functional currency are recognized in the income statement. Historically, we have been able to raise prices and implement cost saving initiatives to partly offset cost and expense increases due to exchange rate volatility. We also have hedge policies designed to manage commodity price and foreign currency risks to protect our exposure to currencies other than our operating companies’ respective functional currencies. Please refer to “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk—Market Risk, Hedging and Financial Instruments” for further detail on our approach to hedging commodity price and foreign currency risk.

 

70


Table of Contents
    Any change in the exchange rates between our operating companies’ functional currencies and our reporting currency affects our consolidated income statement and consolidated statement of financial position when the results of those operating companies are translated into the reporting currency for reporting purposes as translational exposures are not hedged. Assets and liabilities of foreign operations are translated to the reporting currency at foreign exchange rates prevailing at the balance sheet date. Income statements of foreign operations are translated to the reporting currency at exchange rates for the year approximating the foreign exchange rates prevailing at the dates of transactions. The components of shareholders’ equity are translated at historical rates. Exchange differences arising from the translation of shareholders’ equity into the reporting currency at year-end are taken to other comprehensive income (that is, in a translation reserve). Decreases in the value of our operating companies’ functional currencies against the reporting currency tend to reduce their contribution to, among other things, our consolidated revenue and profit. During 2017, several currencies, such as the Mexican peso, the Chinese yuan, the Peruvian pesos, the Colombian pesos, the Russian ruble, the South African rand and the euro, appreciated against the U.S. dollar. Our total consolidated revenue was USD 56.4 billion for the year ended 31 December 2017, an increase of USD 10.9 billion compared to the year ended 31 December 2016. The positive impact of favorable currency translation effects on our consolidated revenue in the year ended 31 December 2017 was USD 0.3 billion, primarily as a result of the impact of the currencies listed above.

For further details regarding the currencies in which our revenue is realized and the effect of foreign currency fluctuations on our results of operations see “—F. Impact of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates” below.

See also “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—Our results of operations are affected by fluctuations in exchange rates” and “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—We are exposed to developing market risks, including the risks of devaluation, nationalization and inflation.”

Weather and Seasonality

Weather conditions directly affect consumption of our products. High temperatures and prolonged periods of warm weather favor increased consumption of our products, while unseasonably cool or wet weather, especially during the spring and summer months, adversely affects our sales volumes and, consequently, our revenue. Accordingly, product sales in all of our business segments are generally higher during the warmer months of the year (which also tend to be periods of increased tourist activity) as well as during major holiday periods.

Consequently, for many countries in EMEA and most countries in the Latin America North and Latin America South regions (particularly Argentina and most of Brazil), volumes are usually stronger in the first and fourth quarters due to year-end festivities and the summer season in the Southern Hemisphere, while for some countries in Latin America West and EMEA and the countries in the North America and Asia Pacific regions, volumes tend to be stronger during the spring and summer seasons in the second and third quarters of each year.

Based on 2017 information, for example, we realized 55% of our total 2017 volumes in Europe in the second and third quarters, compared to 45% in the first and fourth quarters of the year, whereas in Latin America South, we realized 43% of our sales volume in the second and third quarters, compared to 57% in the first and fourth quarters.

Although such sales volume figures are the result of a range of factors in addition to weather and seasonality, they are nevertheless broadly illustrative of the historical trend described above.

B. SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES

For a summary of all of our significant accounting policies, see note 3 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017 included in this Form 20-F.

 

71


Table of Contents

We believe that the following are our critical accounting policies. We consider an accounting policy to be critical if it is important to our financial condition and results of operations and requires significant or complex judgments and estimates on the part of our management. Although each of our significant accounting policies reflects judgments, assessments or estimates, we believe that the following accounting policies reflect the most critical judgments, estimates and assumptions that are important to our business operations and the understanding of its results: revenue recognition; accounting for business combinations and impairment of goodwill and intangible assets; pension and other post-retirement benefits; share-based compensation; contingencies; deferred and current income taxes; and accounting for derivatives. Although we believe that our judgments, assumptions and estimates are appropriate, actual results, under different assumptions or conditions, may differ from these estimates.

Summary of Changes in Accounting Policies

Given the transformational nature of our combination with SAB and to facilitate the understanding of our underlying performance, we updated our segment reporting for purposes of results announcements and internal review by senior management.

From 1 October 2016, our six geographic regions of North America, Latin America West, Latin America North, Latin America South, EMEA and Asia Pacific plus our Global Export and Holding Companies comprise our seven segments for financial reporting purposes. The figures for the year ended 31 December 2015 have been restated to reflect this allocation.

Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016. The former SAB geographies were included in our existing six regions: Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Honduras and El Salvador are reported together with Mexico as Latin America West, Panama is reported within Latin America North, Africa is reported together with Europe as EMEA, and Australia, India and Vietnam are reported within Asia Pacific. Exports to countries in which we have operations following the combination with SAB were allocated to the respective regions in the segment reporting.

We continue to report the results of Global Export and Holding Companies, which includes our global headquarters and the export businesses which have not been allocated to the regions, and als includes the interim supply agreement with Constellation Brands, Inc. only until its termination in December 2016.

The results of the Central and Eastern European businesses, acquired through the SAB combination exclusively with a view to resale, qualify as discontinued operations and have been presented as such, until the successful completion of the divestiture on 31 March 2017, in our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017 included in this Form 20-F.

Revenue Recognition

Our products are sold for cash or on credit terms. In relation to the sale of beverages and packaging, we recognize revenue when the significant risks and rewards of ownership have been transferred to the buyer, and no significant uncertainties remain regarding recovery of the consideration due, associated costs or the possible return of goods, and there is no continuing management involvement with the goods. Our terms of sale do not allow for a right of return.

Our customers can earn certain incentives, which are treated as deductions from revenue. These incentives primarily include volume-based incentive programs, free beer and cash discounts. In preparing the financial statements, management must make estimates related to the contractual terms, customer performance and sales volume to determine the total amounts recorded as deductions from revenue. Management also considers past results in making such estimates. The actual amounts ultimately paid may be different from our estimates. Such differences are recorded once they have been determined and have historically not been significant.

In many jurisdictions, excise taxes make up a large proportion of the cost of beer charged to our customers. The aggregate deduction from revenue recorded by us in relation to these taxes was approximately USD 15.4 billion, USD 11.6 billion and USD 11.2 billion for the years ended 31 December 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively, with

 

72


Table of Contents

the year over year increase mainly resulting from the consolidation of the retained SAB operations, following the combination with SAB, as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

Accounting for Business Combinations and Impairment of Goodwill and Intangible Assets

We have made acquisitions that include a significant amount of goodwill and other intangible assets, including the acquisitions of Anheuser-Busch Companies, Grupo Modelo and SAB.

As of 31 December 2017, our total goodwill amounted to USD 140.9 billion, and our intangible assets with indefinite useful lives amounted to USD 43.6 billion.

In 2017, we completed the purchase price allocation to the individual assets acquired and liabilities assumed as part of the combination with SAB, including the allocation of goodwill to the different business units, in compliance with IFRS 3 Business Combinations. The combination with SAB resulted in the recognition of USD 72.4 billion of goodwill allocated primarily to the businesses in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Australia, South Africa and other African, Asia Pacific and Latin American countries. The valuation of the property, plant and equipment, intangible assets, investment in associates, interest bearing loans and borrowings, employee benefits, other assets and liabilities and non-controlling interests was based on our best estimate of fair value with input from independent third parties.

We apply the acquisition method of accounting to account for acquisition of businesses. The cost of an acquisition is measured as the aggregate of the fair values at the date of exchange of the assets given, liabilities incurred and equity instruments issued. Identifiable assets, liabilities and contingent liabilities acquired or assumed are measured separately at their fair value as of the acquisition date. The excess of the cost of the acquisition over our interest in the fair value of the identifiable net assets acquired is recorded as goodwill. If the business combination is achieved in stages, the acquisition date carrying value of our previously held interest in the acquiree is remeasured to fair value at the acquisition date; any gains or losses arising from such remeasurement are recognized in profit or loss. We exercise significant judgment in the process of identifying tangible and intangible assets and liabilities, valuing such assets and liabilities and in determining their remaining useful lives. We generally engage third-party valuation firms to assist in valuing the acquired assets and liabilities. The valuation of these assets and liabilities is based on the assumptions and criteria which include, in some cases, estimates of future cash flows discounted at the appropriate rates. The use of different assumptions used for valuation purposes, including estimates of future cash flows or discount rates, may have resulted in different estimates of value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed. Although we believe that the assumptions applied in the determination are reasonable based on information available at the date of acquisition, actual results may differ from the forecasted amounts, and the difference could be material.

We test our goodwill and other long-lived assets for impairment annually in the fourth quarter or whenever events and circumstances indicate that the recoverable amount, determined as the higher of the asset’s fair value less cost to sell and value in use, of those assets is less than their carrying amount. The testing methodology consists of applying a discounted free cash flow approach based on acquisition valuation models for our major business units and the business units showing a high invested capital to EBITDA, as defined, multiple, and valuation multiples for our other business units. Our cash flow estimates are based on historical results adjusted to reflect our best estimate of future market and operating conditions. Our estimates of fair values used to determine the resulting impairment loss, if any, represent our best estimate based on forecasted cash flows, industry trends and reference to market rates and transactions. Impairments can also occur when we decide to dispose of assets.

The key judgments, estimates and assumptions used in the discounted free cash flow calculations are generally as follows:

 

    In the first three years of the model, free cash flows are based on our strategic plan as approved by key management. Our strategic plan is prepared per business unit and is based on external sources in respect of macro-economic assumptions, industry, inflation and foreign exchange rates, past experience and identified initiatives in terms of market share, revenue, variable and fixed cost, capital expenditure and working capital assumptions;

 

73


Table of Contents
    For the subsequent seven years of the model, data from the strategic plan is extrapolated generally using simplified assumptions such as macro-economic and industry assumptions, variable cost per hectoliter and fixed cost linked to inflation, as obtained from external sources;

 

    Cash flows after the first ten-year period are extrapolated generally using expected annual long-term consumer price indices (CPI), based on external sources, in order to calculate the terminal value, considering sensitivities on this metric;

 

    Projections are discounted at the business unit’s weighted average cost of capital (WACC), considering sensitivities on this metric;

 

    Cost to sell is assumed to reach 2% of the entity value based on historical precedents.

For the main cash generating units, the terminal growth rate applied generally ranged between 0% and 3%.

The WACC applied in US dollar nominal terms were as follows:

 

     Year ended
31 December 2017
 

US

     6

Colombia

     7

South Africa

     8

Mexico

     9

Peru

     7

Ecuador

     11

Australia

     6

Rest of Africa

     10

In the sensitivity analysis performed by management, an adverse change of 1% in WACC would not cause a business unit’s carrying amount to exceed its recoverable amount.

The above calculations are corroborated by valuation multiples, quoted share prices for publicly traded subsidiaries or other available fair value indicators (i.e. recent market transactions from peers).

Although we believe that our judgments, assumptions and estimates are appropriate, actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or market or macroeconomic conditions.

Impairment testing of intangible assets with an indefinite useful life is based on the same methodology and assumptions as described above.

For additional information on goodwill, intangible assets, tangible assets and impairments, see notes 8, 13, 14 and 15 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017.

Pension and Other Post-Retirement Benefits

We sponsor various post-employment benefit plans worldwide. These include pension plans, both defined contribution plans and defined benefit plans, and other post-employment benefits. Usually, pension plans are funded by payments made both by us and our employees, taking into account the recommendations of independent actuaries. We maintain funded and unfunded plans.

Defined Contribution Plans

Contributions to these plans are recognized as expenses in the period in which they are incurred.

 

74


Table of Contents

Defined Benefit Plans

For defined benefit plans, liabilities and expenses are assessed separately for each plan using the projected unit credit method. The projected unit credit method takes into account each period of service as giving rise to an additional unit of benefit to measure each unit separately. Under this method, the cost of providing pensions is charged to the income statement during the period of service of the employee. The amounts charged to the income statement consist of current service cost, net interest cost/(income), past service costs and the effect of any settlements and curtailments. Past service costs are recognized at the earlier of when the amendment/curtailment occurs or when we recognize related restructuring or termination costs.

The net defined benefit plan liability recognized in the statement of financial position is measured as the current value of the estimated future cash outflows using a discount rate equivalent to high-quality corporate bond yields with maturity terms similar to those of the obligation, less the fair value of any plan assets. Where the calculated amount of a defined benefit plan liability is negative (an asset), we recognize such asset to the extent that economic benefits are available to us either from refunds or reductions in future contributions.

Assumptions used to value defined benefit liabilities are based on actual historical experience, plan demographics, external data regarding compensation and economic trends. While we believe that our assumptions are appropriate, significant differences in our actual experience or significant changes in our assumptions may materially affect our pension obligation and our future expense. Remeasurements, comprising actuarial gains and losses, the effect of asset ceilings (excluding net interest) and the return on plan assets (excluding net interest) are recognized in full in the period in which they occur in the statement of comprehensive income. For further information on how changes in these assumptions could change the amounts recognized, see the sensitivity analysis within note 25 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017.

A significant portion of our plan assets is invested in equity and debt securities. The equity and debt markets have experienced volatility in the recent past, which has affected the value of our pension plan assets. This volatility may impact the long-term rate of return on plan assets. Actual asset returns that differ from the interest income recognized in our income statement are fully recognized in other comprehensive income.

Other Post-Employment Obligations

We and our subsidiaries provide health care benefits and other benefits to certain retirees. The expected costs of these benefits are recognized over the period of employment, using an accounting methodology similar to that used for defined benefit plans.

Share-Based Compensation

We have various types of equity-settled share-based compensation schemes for employees. Employee services received, and the corresponding increase in equity, are measured by reference to the fair value of the equity instruments as of the date of grant. Fair value of stock options is estimated by using the binomial Hull model on the date of grant based on certain assumptions. Those assumptions are described in note 26 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017 included in this Form 20-F and include, among others, the dividend yield, expected volatility and expected life of the stock options. The binomial Hull model assumes that all employees would immediately exercise their options if our share price were 2.5 times above the option exercise price. As a consequence, no single expected option life applies, whereas the assumption of the expected volatility has been set by reference to the implied volatility of our shares in the open market and in light of historical patterns of volatility. In the determination of the expected volatility, we excluded the volatility measured during the period 15 July 2008 to 30 April 2009 given the extreme market conditions experienced during that period.

 

75


Table of Contents

Contingencies

The preparation of our financial statements requires management to make estimates and assumptions regarding contingencies which affect the valuation of assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the revenue and expenses during the reported period.

We disclose material contingent liabilities unless the possibility of any loss arising is considered remote, and material contingent assets where the inflow of economic benefits is probable. We discuss our material contingencies in note 32 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017.

Under IFRS, we record a provision for a loss contingency when it is probable that a future event will confirm that a liability has been incurred at the date of the financial statements, and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated. By their nature, contingencies will only be resolved when one or more future events occur or fail to occur, and typically those events will occur over a number of years in the future. The valuations of the provisions are adjusted as further information becomes available.

As discussed in “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Financial Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal and Arbitration Proceedings,” and in note 32 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017, legal proceedings covering a wide range of matters are pending or threatened in various jurisdictions against us. We record provisions for pending litigation when we determine that an unfavorable outcome is probable and the amount of loss can be reasonably estimated. Due to the inherent uncertain nature of litigation, the ultimate outcome or actual cost of settlement may materially vary from estimates.

Deferred and Current Income Taxes

We recognize deferred tax effects of tax loss carry-forwards and temporary differences between the financial statement carrying amounts and the tax basis of our assets and liabilities. We estimate our income taxes based on regulations in the various jurisdictions where we conduct business. This requires us to estimate our actual current tax exposure and to assess temporary differences that result from different treatment of certain items for tax and accounting purposes. These differences result in deferred tax assets and liabilities, which we record on our consolidated balance sheet. We regularly review the deferred tax assets for recoverability and will only recognize these if we believe that it is probable that there will be sufficient taxable profit against any temporary differences that can be utilized, based on historical taxable income, projected future taxable income, and the expected timing of the reversals of existing temporary differences.

The carrying amount of a deferred tax asset is reviewed at each balance sheet date. We reduce the carrying amount of a deferred tax asset to the extent that it is no longer probable that sufficient taxable profit will be available to allow the benefit of part or all of that deferred tax asset to be utilized. Any such reduction is reversed to the extent that it becomes probable that sufficient taxable profit will be available. If the final outcome of these matters differs from the amounts initially recorded, differences may positively or negatively impact the income tax and deferred tax provisions in the period in which such determination is made.

We are subject to income tax in numerous jurisdictions. Significant judgment is required in determining the worldwide provision for income tax. There are some transactions and calculations for which the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. Some of our subsidiaries are involved in tax audits and local enquiries, usually in relation to prior years. Investigations and negotiations with local tax authorities are ongoing in various jurisdictions at the balance sheet date and, by their nature, these can take considerable time to conclude. In assessing the amount of any income tax provisions to be recognized in the financial statements, estimation is made of the expected successful settlement of these matters. Estimates of interest and penalties on tax liabilities are also recorded. Where the final outcome of these matters is different from the amounts that were initially recorded, such differences will impact the current and deferred income tax assets and liabilities in the period such determination is made.

 

76


Table of Contents

Our current and deferred taxes were impacted by the U.S. tax reform enacted on 22 December 2017, for which a USD 1.8 billion adjustment was provisionally estimated and recognized as an exceptional gain for the year ended 31 December 2017. This USD 1.8 billion adjustment results mainly from the remeasurement of the deferred tax liabilities set up in 2008 in line with IFRS as part of the purchase price accounting of the combination with Anheuser-Busch Companies and certain deferred tax assets following the change in federal tax rate from 35% to 21%. The adjustment represents our current best estimate of the deferred tax liability remeasurement resulting from the U.S. tax reform, including state taxes. The estimate will be updated in 2018 once we will have analyzed all necessary information, including earnings and profits (E&P) of the foreign subsidiaries of our U.S. operations per 2 November and 31 December 2017 and their cash held abroad to complete the exhaustive computation of the deemed repatriation tax and state taxes. During 2018, we will also assess if a deferred tax liability should be set up in view of the Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income provisions of the U.S. tax reform, for which we did not set up any deferred tax liabilities for the year ended 31 December 2017 and believe the impact to be not material. The estimate may change as the company receives additional clarification and implementation guidance from the authorities. For additional information, see notes 12 and 18 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017.

Accounting for Derivatives

Our risk management strategy includes the use of derivatives. The main derivative instruments we use are foreign currency rate agreements, exchange-traded foreign currency futures, interest rate swaps and options, cross-currency interest rate swaps and forwards, exchange-traded interest rate futures, commodity swaps, exchange-traded commodity futures and equity swaps. Our policy prohibits the use of derivatives in the context of speculative trading.

Derivative financial instruments are recognized initially at fair value. Fair value is the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date.

Subsequent to initial recognition, derivative financial instruments are remeasured to fair value at the balance sheet date. For derivative financial instruments that qualify for hedge accounting, we apply the following policy: for fair value hedges, changes in fair value are recorded in the income statement and for cash flow and net investment hedges, changes in fair value are recognized in the other comprehensive income and/or in the income statement for the effective and/or ineffective portion of the hedge relationship, respectively.

The estimated fair value amounts have been determined by us using available market information and appropriate valuation methodologies. However, considerable judgment is necessarily required in interpreting market data to develop the estimates of fair value. The fair values of financial instruments that are not traded in an active market (for example, unlisted equities, currency options, embedded derivatives and over-the-counter derivatives) are determined using valuation techniques. We use judgment to select an appropriate valuation methodology and underlying assumptions based principally on existing market conditions. Changes in these assumptions may cause us to recognize impairments or losses in future periods.

Although our intention is to maintain these instruments through maturity, they may be realized at our discretion. Should these instruments be settled only on their respective maturity dates, any effect between the market value and estimated yield curve of the instruments would be eliminated.

C. BUSINESS SEGMENTS

Both from an accounting and managerial perspective, we are organized according to business segments, which, with the exception of Global Export and Holding Companies, correspond to a combination of geographic regions in which our operations are based. The Global Export and Holding Companies segment includes our headquarters and the countries in which our products are sold only on an export basis and in which we generally do not otherwise have any operations or production activities, as well as certain intra-group transactions and the interim supply agreement with Constellation Brands, Inc. until its termination in December 2016.

 

77


Table of Contents

Since 1 October 2016, we have reported our financial results under the following six regions: North America, Latin America West, Latin America North, Latin America South, EMEA and Asia Pacific. We continue to separately report the results of Global Export and Holding Companies. Our six geographic regions plus our Global Export and Holding Companies comprise our seven segments for all financial reporting purposes. For a list of the countries comprising our geographic reporting regions, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—3. Main Markets.”

Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

The financial performance of each business segment, including its sales volume and revenue, is measured based on our product sales within the countries that comprise that business segment rather than based on products manufactured within that business segment but sold elsewhere.

In 2017, Latin America North accounted for 19.5% of our consolidated volumes; North America for 18.5%; Asia Pacific for 16.6%; EMEA for 21.5%; Latin America West for 18.1%; Latin America South for 5.6%; and Global Export and Holding Companies for 0.2%. A substantial portion of our operations is carried out through our four largest subsidiaries: Anheuser-Busch Companies (wholly owned); Ambev (61.9% owned as of 31 December 2017); Grupo Modelo (wholly owned); SAB (wholly owned); and their respective subsidiaries.

Throughout the world, we are primarily active in the beer business. However, during 2017, we also had non-beer activities (primarily consisting of soft drinks) within certain African countries that were separated with the completion of the transition of CCBA; and Latin America, in particular Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina; and in North America, in particular the Hi Ball and Teavana business in the United States. Both the beer and non-beer volumes comprise sales of brands that we own or license, third-party brands that we brew or otherwise produce as a subcontractor and third-party products that we sell through our distribution network.

D. EQUITY INVESTMENTS

Following the completion of the combination with SAB, we recognized interests in associates with a fair value at acquisition date of USD 4.4 billion. The main equity investments contributing to such fair value adjustments were the beverage operations with Société des Brasseries et Glacières Internationales and B.I.H. Brasseries Internationales Holding Limited and Anadolu Efes. See note 16 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017 for more information.

E. RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The table below presents our condensed consolidated results of operations for the year ended 31 December 2017 and 2016. Following completion of the combination with SAB, we are consolidating SAB and reporting results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

 

78


Table of Contents
     Year ended
31 December 2017
     Year ended
31 December 2016
     Change  
     (USD million, except volumes)      (%)(1)  

Volumes (thousand hectoliters)

     612,572        500,242        22.5  

Revenue

     56,444        45,517        24.0  

Cost of sales

     (21,386      (17,803      (20.1

Gross profit

     35,058        27,715        26.5  

Selling, General and Administrative expenses

     (18,099      (15,171      (19.3

Other operating income/(expenses)

     854        732        16.7  

Exceptional items

     (662      (394      (68.0

Profit from operations

     17,152        12,882        33.1  

EBITDA, as defined(2)

     21,429        16,361        31.0  

 

Note:

 

(1) The percentage change reflects the improvement (or worsening) of results for the period as a result of the change in each item.
(2) For a discussion of how we use EBITDA, as defined, and its limitations, and a table showing the calculation of our EBITDA, as defined, for the periods shown, see “—EBITDA, as defined” below

Year Ended 31 December 2017 Compared to the Year Ended 31 December 2016

Volumes

Our reported volumes include both beer (including near beer) and non-beer (primarily carbonated soft drinks) volumes. In addition, volumes include not only brands that we own or license, but also third-party brands that we brew or otherwise produce as a subcontractor and third-party products that we sell through our distribution network, particularly in Europe. Volumes sold by the Global Export and Holding Companies businesses are shown separately. Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

The table below summarizes the volume evolution by business segment.

 

     Year ended
31 December 2017
     Year ended
31 December 2016(2)
     Change  
     (thousand hectoliters)      (%)(1)  

North America

     113,496        116,890        (2.9

Latin America West

     110,625        63,618        73.9  

Latin America North

     119,374        118,012        1.2  

Latin America South

     34,062        32,158        5.9  

EMEA

     131,692        75,348        74.8  

Asia Pacific

     101,986        92,278        10.5  

Global Export and Holding Companies

     1,336        1,940        (31.1
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     612,572        500,242        22.5  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Note:

 

(1) The percentage change reflects the improvement (or worsening) of results for the period as a result of the change in each item.
(2) Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

 

79


Table of Contents

Our consolidated volumes were 612.6 million hectoliters for the year ended 31 December 2017. This represented an increase of 112.3 million hectoliters, or 22.5%, as compared to our consolidated volumes for the year ended 31 December 2016. The results for the year ended 31 December 2017 reflect the performance of our business after the completion of certain acquisitions and disposals we undertook in 2016 and 2017.

 

    The combination with SAB, which was included as from the fourth quarter of 2016 within our consolidated results, increased our volumes by 127.4 million hectoliters in the first nine months of 2017. The acquisition of the SAB retained businesses primarily affects our EMEA, Latin America West and Asia Pacific regions, and, to a lesser degree, our Latin America North region.

 

    2017 acquisitions and disposals mainly include the completion of the transition of CCBA and the acquisition of certain craft breweries in the United States, China, Australia and Europe. The other 2016 acquisitions and disposals mainly include the acquisition of certain craft breweries in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean and the disposal of a brewery in Germany. These 2016 and 2017 transactions negatively impacted our volumes, in the aggregate, by 15.5 million hectoliters (net) for the year ended 31 December 2017 compared to the year ended 31 December 2016.

For further details of these acquisitions and disposals, see “—A. Key Factors Affecting Results of Operations—Acquisitions, Divestitures and Other Structural Changes.” See also note 6 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017 included in this Form 20-F.

Excluding volume changes attributable to the combination with SAB and the acquisitions and disposals described above, total volumes increased 0.1% in the year ended 31 December 2017 compared to our volumes for the year ended 31 December 2016.

North America

In the year ended 31 December 2017, our volumes in North America decreased by 3.3 million hectoliters, or 2.9%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2016.

Excluding volume changes attributable to the other acquisitions and disposals described above, our total volumes decreased by 3.3% compared to the year ended 31 December 2016.

On the same basis, we estimate that the United States industry’s beer sales-to-retailers adjusted for the number of selling days declined by 1.3% in the year ended 31 December 2017 compared to the year ended 31 December 2016. We estimate that our shipment volumes in the United States and our beer sales-to-retailers adjusted for the number of selling days declined by 3.5% and 3.0%, respectively. Our beer sales-to-wholesalers caught-up in the fourth quarter from last quarter’s disruption caused by major hurricanes, in line with our expectations that beer sales-to-retailers and sales-to-wholesalers converge over time.

Our above premium brand portfolio continued to perform well, gaining approximately 45 bps of total market share in the year ended 31 December 2017, based on our estimates. Michelob Ultra led the growth in this segment, with volumes up by double-digits, continuing its run as the top share gainer in the US for the eleventh consecutive quarter. We continue to fuel the momentum behind Michelob Ultra and we have recently launched a new line extension named Pure Gold. Stella Artois performed well, gaining share and continuing to build on its partnership with Water.org to provide clean water to millions of people in the developing world. Our regional craft portfolio also performed well, growing volume and share, based on our estimates, in the year ended 31 December 2017.

The premium and premium light segments underperformed the industry. Budweiser and Bud Light market share declined by an estimated 40 bps and 85 bps of share, respectively. Our value brand portfolio showed improved trends in the year ended 31 December 2017, with the Busch brand family and Bud Ice leading the way.

We continue to strengthen and expand our presence beyond traditional beer, with our recent bets in the non-alcohol space and SpikedSeltzer gaining momentum, as we leverage our strong wholesaler network to meet evolving consumer needs.

 

80


Table of Contents

We estimate a decline in total market share in the United States of approximately 75 bps in the year ended 31 December 2017.

In Canada, our volumes decreased by low single digits in the year ended 31 December 2017 compared to the last year due to a challenging industry environment. We estimate that we are now the market leader in every category segment in the country. Bud Light remains the fastest growing brand in Canada, completing its 22nd consecutive year of market share growth based on our estimates. Our portfolio mix continues to improve, bolstered by growth in our craft portfolio and Stella Artois, and we believe that we continue to lead the Near Beer segment with our cider brands and ready-to-drink innovations.

Latin America West

In the year ended 31 December 2017, our volumes in Latin America West increased by 47.0 million hectoliters, or 73.9%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2016.

The combination with SAB, which was included as from the fourth quarter of 2016 within our consolidated results for the years ended 31 December 2017 and 2016, increased our volumes by 45.9 million hectoliters in the first nine months of 2017.

Excluding volume changes attributable to the combination with SAB and the other acquisitions and disposals described above, our total volumes increased by low single digits in the year ended 31 December 2017 compared to the year ended 31 December 2016.

On the same basis, our business in Mexico delivered another solid year, with volumes up by mid-single digits. Our full brand portfolio performed well, with Victoria building upon its strong momentum, driven by the ongoing success of its Mexican heritage positioning. Corona also performed well, enhancing its customer proposition through an improved brand look as well as by owning key dates and passion points. Bud Light continued to grow volumes throughout the country, leveraging successful sports and music activations. We also saw success from our premium portfolio with Michelob Ultra and Stella Artois leading the way.

On a year-over-year basis and for the Combined Group, our Colombian volumes declined by low single digits. On the same basis, our non-beer volumes performed very well, growing by double digits as a result of commercial initiatives and a favorable comparable. Our beer volumes declined by mid-single digits due to a challenging macroeconomic environment and tough comparable in the first six months of 2017.

On the same year-over-year basis for the Combined Group, volumes in Peru grew by low single digits, driven by our commercial initiatives, with Cristal leveraging a key cultural moment by capitalizing on the country’s World Cup qualification. On the same basis, Ecuador volumes grew by low single digits. Through packaging innovations as well as the launch of our three global brands, we estimate that we gained share of total alcohol in the year ended 31 December 2017 and offered consumers more choice across a variety of price points.

Latin America North

In the year ended 31 December 2017, our volumes in Latin America North increased by 1.3 million hectoliters, or 1.2%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2016, with our beer volumes increasing 2.7% and soft drinks decreasing 3.5%.

The combination with SAB, which was included as from the fourth quarter of 2016 within our consolidated results for the years ended 31 December 2017 and 2016, increased our volumes by 2.1 million hectoliters in the first nine months of 2017.

Excluding volume changes attributable to the combination with SAB and the other acquisitions and disposals described above, our volumes decreased by 0.6%.

 

81


Table of Contents

On the same basis, our Brazil business saw total volumes decreasing by low single digits in the year ended 31 December 2017 compared to the year ended 31 December 2016, with beer volumes increasing by low single digits, whereas the beer industry according to Nielsen was slightly negative, and soft drinks volumes decreasing by mid-single digits. Our premium portfolio continued broad-based, double-digit growth fueled by our three global brands, especially Budweiser. Although the macroeconomic climate in Brazil remains volatile, we believe our business is in a much better position today, with a healthy portfolio of brands including our premium brands.

Latin America South

In the year ended 31 December 2017, our volumes in Latin America South increased by 1.9 million hectoliters, or 5.9%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2016.

Argentina delivered a very strong performance with high single digits total volume growth, with our beer volumes increasing by double-digits, fueled by the repositioning of Brahma as well as the successful launch of Quilmes Clasica, brewed using a classic recipe with no additives and focusing on national pride. Our premium portfolio, led by Stella Artois, Corona and local craft brand Patagonia, accelerated its growth and fueled positive mix. Our soft drink portfolio also performed well as a result of a new commercial and portfolio strategy, growing volumes and achieving its best result in more than six years.

EMEA

In EMEA, our volumes, including subcontracted volumes, for the year ended 31 December 2017 increased by 56.3 million hectoliters, or 74.8%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2016.

The combination with SAB, which was included as from the fourth quarter of 2016 within our consolidated results for the years ended 31 December 2017 and 2016, increased our volumes by 71.3 million hectoliters in the first nine months of 2017.

Excluding volume changes attributable to the combination with SAB and the other acquisitions and disposals described above, our beer volumes for the year ended 31 December 2017 increased by low single digits compared to the year ended 31 December 2016.

On a year-over-year basis and for the Combined Group, our beer volumes in South Africa grew by 0.9%. Our high end portfolio, led by Stella Artois, Corona and the recent seeding of Budweiser, showed consistent growth in volumes and market share gains throughout the year ended 31 December 2017. In the near beer segment, Flying Fish recorded over 60% growth in the year ended 31 December 2017. In the core plus segment, Castle Lite had another year of consistent growth.

Continuously investing in innovation, we introduced several new packages and products this year. Some especially noteworthy launches in the fourth quarter of 2017 include the one-liter bottle, which establishes a new multi-serve pack size at an attractive price point within the core brand segment, and Castle Free, enabling us to compete in the non-alcohol beer segment with exciting implications for the image and health of the beer category.

On a year-over-year basis and for the Combined Group, beer volumes in Africa excluding South Africa grew in the mid-teens, fueled by double-digit growth in the majority of the countries in which we operate, including Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, as we continue to expand our offerings to consumers through both affordability and premiumization strategies.

Western Europe achieved market share gains in most of our markets. The United Kingdom performed well, helped in large part by the strong performances of our three global brands. In Eastern Europe, volumes declined driven by the ongoing headwind of the large PET ban in Russia. However, our global and premium brands continued their strong growth.

 

82


Table of Contents

Asia Pacific

For the year ended 31 December 2017, our volumes increased by 9.7 million hectoliters, or 10.5%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2016.

The combination with SAB, which was included as from the fourth quarter of 2016 within our consolidated results for the years ended 31 December 2017 and 2016, increased our volumes by 8.1 million hectoliters in the first nine months of 2017.

Excluding volume changes attributable to the combination with SAB and the other acquisitions and disposals described above, our total volumes increased by low single digits compared to the year ended 31 December 2016.

In China, our volumes grew by low single digits in the year ended 31 December 2017. We estimate that our market share grew in an industry that declined by an estimated 0.9% in 2017. Our brand portfolio benefited from strong consumer preference for premium brands. In the core plus segment, Harbin Ice outperformed the industry nationally, aided by Baipi wheat extension. Budweiser also grew nationally with some notable successes in the year ended 31 December 2017, including establishing itself as the leading beer brand in sales in e-commerce. Our super premium portfolio, led by Corona, Hoegaarden, and Franziskaner, accelerated its growth throughout the year ended 31 December 2017, with volumes almost doubling compared to the year ended 31 December 2016, and we estimate that we are now the market leader in all super premium beer styles in China.

On a year-over-year basis and for the Combined Group, volumes in Australia increased by low single digits, driven by strong brand performances across our portfolio. The Great Northern franchise became our number one brand in Australia by volume in the year ended 31 December 2017 as we continue to fuel growth by addressing shifting consumer preferences. Our global brands accelerated their growth throughout the year with volumes up in the mid-teens, driven by distribution gains as well as commercial activations.

Global Export and Holding Companies

For the year ended 31 December 2017, Global Export and Holding Companies volumes decreased by 0.6 million hectoliters.

Revenue

Revenue refers to turnover less excise taxes and discounts. See “—A. Key Factors Affecting Results of Operations—Excise Taxes.”

The following table reflects changes in revenue across our business segments for the year ended 31 December 2017, as compared to our revenue for the year ended 31 December 2016.

 

     Year ended
31 December 2017
     Year ended
31 December 2016(2)
     Change  
     (USD millions)      (%)(1)  

North America

     15,588        15,698        (0.7

Latin America West

     9,238        5,188        78.1  

Latin America North

     9,775        8,461        15.5  

Latin America South

     3,363        2,850        18.0  

EMEA

     10,344        6,010        72.1  

Asia Pacific

     7,804        6,074        28.5  

Global Export and Holding Companies

     332        1,237        (73.2
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     56,444        45,517        24.0  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

83


Table of Contents

 

Note:

 

(1) The percentage change reflects the improvement (or worsening) of results for the period as a result of the change in each item.
(2) Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

Our consolidated revenue was USD 56,444 million for the year ended 31 December 2017. This represented an increase of USD 10,927 million, or 24.0%, as compared to our consolidated revenue for the year ended 31 December 2016. The results for the year ended 31 December 2017 reflect the performance of our business after the completion of the combination with SAB, certain acquisitions and disposals we undertook in 2016 and 2017 and currency translation effects.

 

    The combination with SAB, which was included from the fourth quarter of 2016 within our consolidated results for the years ended 31 December 2017 and 2016, positively impacted our consolidated revenue by USD 9,867 million in the first nine months of 2017.

 

    Our 2016 consolidated results were impacted by the continued phasing out of inventory sales and transition services provided under agreements with Constellation Brands, Inc. and by the acquisition of certain craft breweries in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean and the disposal of a brewery in Germany (the “other 2016 acquisitions and disposals”). Furthermore, our 2017 consolidated results were impacted by the completion of the transition of CCBA and the acquisition of certain craft breweries in the United States, China, Australia and Europe (collectively, the “other 2017 acquisitions and disposals” and together with the 2016 acquisitions and disposals, the “other 2016 and 2017 acquisitions and disposals”). These acquisitions and disposals negatively impacted our consolidated revenue by USD 1,365 million (net) for the year ended 31 December 2017 compared to the year ended 31 December 2016.

 

    Our consolidated revenue for the year ended 31 December 2017 also reflects a favorable currency translation impact of USD 347 million mainly arising from currency translation effects in Latin America South, Latin America North and Asia Pacific.

Excluding the effects of the business acquisitions and disposals described above, the combination with SAB and currency translation effects, our revenue increased 4.7% and increased by 4.6% on a per hectoliter basis, in the year ended 31 December 2017 compared to the year ended 31 December 2016, driven by our revenue management initiatives and brand mix, as we continue to implement our premiumization strategies around the world. Our consolidated revenue for the year ended 31 December 2017 was partly impacted by the developments in volumes discussed above.

On the same basis, the main business segments contributing to growth in our consolidated revenues were: (i) Latin America South, as a result of high inflation; (ii) Latin America North, benefitting from revenue management initiatives; (iii) Latin America West, driven by the good performance of our brand portfolio; and (iv) Asia Pacific, driven by continued premiumization.

Combined revenues of our three global brands grew by 9.8% in 2017, with global revenues for Budweiser growing by 4.1%, for Stella Artois by 12.8% and for Corona by 19.9%.

 

84


Table of Contents

Cost of Sales

The following table reflects changes in the cost of sales across our business segments for the year ended 31 December 2017 as compared to the year ended 31 December 2016:

 

     Year ended
31 December 2017
     Year ended
31 December 2016(2)
     Change  
     (USD millions)      (%)(1)  

North America

     (5,777      (5,858      1.4  

Latin America West

     (2,555      (1,470      (73.8

Latin America North

     (3,744      (3,169      (18.1

Latin America South

     (1,207      (927      (30.2

EMEA

     (4,609      (2,590      (78.0

Asia Pacific

     (3,201      (2,855      (12.1

Global Export and Holding Companies

     (292      (935      68.8  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     (21,386      (17,803      (20.1
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Note:

 

(1) The percentage change reflects the improvement (or worsening) of results for the period as a result of the change in each item.
(2) Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

Our consolidated cost of sales was USD 21,386 million for the year ended 31 December 2017. This represented an increase of USD 3,583 million, or 20.1%, as compared to our consolidated cost of sales for the year ended 31 December 2016. The results for the year ended 31 December 2017 reflect the performance of our business after the completion of the combination with SAB, certain acquisitions and disposals we undertook in 2016 and 2017 and currency translation effects.

 

    The combination with SAB, which was included from the fourth quarter of 2016 within our consolidated results for the years ended 31 December 2017 and 2016, negatively impacted our consolidated cost of sales by USD 3,802 million in the first nine months of 2017.

 

    The 2016 and 2017 acquisitions and disposals described above positively impacted our consolidated cost of sales by USD 971 million for the year ended 31 December 2017 compared to the year ended 31 December 2016.

 

    Our consolidated cost of sales for the year ended 31 December 2017 also reflects a negative currency translation impact of USD 128 million mainly arising from currency translation effects in Latin America North.

Excluding the effects of the business acquisitions and disposals described above, the combination with SAB and currency translation effects, our cost of sales increased by 3.8%. On the same basis, our consolidated cost of sales per hectoliter increased by mid-single digits. The increase in our cost of sales was driven primarily by unfavorable foreign exchange transactional impacts. Our consolidated cost of sales for the year ended 31 December 2017 was partly impacted by the developments in volumes discussed above.

Operating Expenses

The discussion below relates to our operating expenses, which equal the sum of our distribution expenses, sales and marketing expenses, administrative expenses and other operating income and expenses (net), for the year ended 31 December 2017 as compared to the year ended 31 December 2016. Our operating expenses do not include exceptional charges, which are reported separately.

Our operating expenses for the year ended 31 December 2017 were USD 17,245 million, representing an increase of USD 2,806 million, or 19.4% compared to our operating expenses for 2016.

 

85


Table of Contents
     Year ended
31 December 2017
     Year ended
31 December 2016(2)
     Change  
     (USD millions)      (%)(1)  

Distribution Expenses

     (5,876      (4,543      (29.4

Sales and Marketing Expenses

     (8,382      (7,745      (8.2

Administrative Expenses

     (3,841      (2,882      (33.3

Other Operating Income/(Expenses)

     854        732        16.7  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total Operating Expenses

     (17,245      (14,439      (19.4
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Note:

 

(1) The percentage change reflects the improvement (or worsening) of results for the period as a result of the change in each item.
(2) Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

Selling, General and Administrative Expenses

The following table reflects changes in our distribution expenses, sales and marketing expenses and administrative expenses (our “selling, general and administrative expenses”) across our business segments for the year ended 31 December 2017 as compared to the year ended 31 December 2016:

 

     Year ended
31 December 2017
     Year ended
31 December 2016(2)
     Change  
     (USD millions)      (%)(1)  

North America

     (4,361      (4,438      1.7  

Latin America West

     (2,876      (1,805      (59.3

Latin America North

     (3,060      (2,618      (16.9

Latin America South

     (781      (704      (10.9

EMEA

     (3,336      (2,163      (54.2

Asia Pacific

     (2,735      (2,364      (15.7

Global Export and Holding Companies

     (950      (1,080      12.0  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     (18,099      (15,171      (19.3
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Note:

 

(1) The percentage change reflects the improvement (or worsening) of results for the period as a result of the change in each item.
(2) Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

Our consolidated selling, general and administrative expenses were USD 18,099 million for the year ended 31 December 2017. This represented an increase of USD 2,928 million, or 19.3%, as compared to the year ended 31 December 2016. The results for the year ended 31 December 2017 reflect the performance of our business after the completion of certain acquisitions and disposals we undertook in 2016 and 2017 and currency translation effects.

 

    The combination with SAB, which was included from the fourth quarter of 2016 within our consolidated results for the years ended 31 December 2017 and 2016, negatively impacted our consolidated selling, general and administrative expenses by USD 2,890 million in the first nine months of 2017.

 

    The 2016 and 2017 acquisitions and disposals described above positively impacted our consolidated operating expenses by USD 91 million for the year ended 31 December 2017 compared to the year ended 31 December 2016.

 

86


Table of Contents
    Our consolidated operating expenses for the year ended 31 December 2017 also reflect a negative currency translation impact of USD 131 million.

Excluding the effects of the business acquisitions and disposals described above, the combination with SAB and currency translation effects, our consolidated selling, general and administrative expenses in the year ended 31 December 2017 remained in line compared to the year ended 31 December 2016.

Other Operating Income/(Expenses)

The following table reflects changes in other operating income and expenses across our business segments for the year ended 31 December 2017 as compared to the year ended 31 December 2016:

 

     Year ended
31 December 2017
     Year ended
31 December 2016(2)
     Change  
     (USD millions)      (%)(1)  

North America

     36        39        (7.7

Latin America West

     89        75        18.7  

Latin America North

     361        328        10.1  

Latin America South

     13        20        (35.0

EMEA

     108        44        141.0  

Asia Pacific

     168        131        27.9  

Global Export and Holding Companies

     79        95        (17.5
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     854        732        16.5  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Note:

 

(1) The percentage change reflects the improvement (or worsening) of results for the period as a result of the change in each item.
(2) Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

The net positive effect of our other operating income and expenses for the year ended 31 December 2017 was USD 854 million. This represented an increase of USD 122 million, or 16.5%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2016. The results for the year ended 31 December 2017 reflect a positive impact from the combination with SAB of USD 134 million in the first nine months of 2017, a negative impact from other acquisitions and disposals of USD 115 million and a positive currency translation impact of USD 26 million.

Excluding the effects of the business acquisitions and disposals, and currency translation effects described above, our net other operating income and expenses would have increased by 12.5% for the year ended 31 December 2017 as compared to the year ended 31 December 2016, driven primarily by the sale of non-core assets and a reduction in operating expenses.

Exceptional Items

Exceptional items are items which, in our management’s judgment, need to be disclosed separately by virtue of their size and incidence in order to obtain a proper understanding of our financial information. We consider these items to be significant in nature, and, accordingly, our management has excluded these items from their segment measure of performance.

 

87


Table of Contents

For the year ended 31 December 2017, exceptional items included in profit from operations consisted of restructuring charges, acquisition costs of business combinations and business and asset disposal. Exceptional items were as follows for the years ended 31 December 2017 and 2016:

 

     Year ended
31 December 2017
     Year ended
31 December 2016(1)
 
     (USD millions)  

Restructuring

     (468      (323

Acquisition costs of business combination

     (155      (448

Business and asset disposal

     (39      377  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     (662      (394
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Note:

 

(1) Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

Restructuring

Exceptional restructuring charges amounted to a net cost of USD 468 million for the year ended 31 December 2017 as compared to a net cost of USD 323 million for the year ended 31 December 2016. These charges primarily relate to the SAB integration. These one-time expenses, as a result of the series of decisions, provide us with a lower cost base in addition to a stronger focus on our core activities, quicker decision making and improvements to efficiency, service and quality.

Acquisition Costs of Business Combinations

Acquisition costs of USD 155 million for the year ended 31 December 2017 primarily related to costs incurred to facilitate the combination with SAB.

Business and Asset Disposal

Business and asset disposals amounted to a net cost of USD 39 million for the year ended 31 December 2017, mainly attributable to the costs incurred to complete the disposals of the former SAB Central and Eastern Europe business as well as CCBA during 2017, partly offset by proceeds from prior years’ sale of SeaWorld to Blackstone.

Profit from Operations

The following table reflects changes in profit from operations across our business segments for the year ended 31 December 2017 as compared to the year ended 31 December 2016:

 

     Year ended
31 December 2017(3)
     Year ended
31 December 2016(2)
     Change  
     (USD millions)      (%)(1)  

North America

     5,490        5,412        1.5  

Latin America West

     3,743        2,240        67.0  

Latin America North

     3,314        2,981        11.1  

Latin America South

     1,375        1,228        12.0  

EMEA

     2,363        1,184        99.7  

Asia Pacific

     1,939        903        114.7  

Global Export and Holding Companies

     (1,071      (1,066      (0.5
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     17,152        12,882        33.1  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Note:

 

(1) The percentage change reflects the improvement (or worsening) of results for the period as a result of the change in each item.

 

88


Table of Contents
(2) Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

Our profit from operations amounted to USD 17,152 million for the year ended 31 December 2017. This represented an increase of USD 4,270 million, or 33.1%, as compared to our profit from operations for the year ended 31 December 2016. The results for the year ended 31 December 2017 reflect the performance of our business after the completion of certain acquisitions and disposals we undertook in 2016 and 2017, currency translation effects and the effects of certain exceptional items as described above.

 

    The combination with SAB, which was included from the fourth quarter of 2016 within our consolidated results for the years ended 31 December 2017 and 2016, positively impacted our consolidated profit from operations by USD 3,141 million in the first nine months of 2017.

 

    The 2016 and 2017 acquisitions and disposals described above negatively impacted our consolidated profit from operations by USD 357 million for the year ended 31 December 2017 compared to the year ended 31 December 2016.

 

    Our consolidated profit from operations for the year ended 31 December 2017 also reflects a positive currency translation impact of USD 112 million.

 

    Our profit from operations for the year ended 31 December 2017 was negatively impacted by USD 662 million of certain exceptional items, as compared to a negative impact of USD 394 million for the year ended 31 December 2016. See “—Exceptional Items” above for a description of the exceptional items during the years ended 31 December 2017 and 2016.

Excluding the effects of the business acquisitions and disposals described above, the combination with SAB and currency translation effects, our profit from operations increased by 10.9%.

 

89


Table of Contents

EBITDA, as defined

The following table reflects changes in our EBITDA, as defined, for the year ended 31 December 2017 as compared to the year ended 31 December 2016:

 

     Year ended
31 December 2017
     Year ended
31 December 2016(2)
     Change  
     (USD millions)      (%)(1)  

Profit of the year

     9,183        2,769        231.6  

Profit from discontinued operations

     (28      (48      (41.7

Net finance cost

     6,507        8,564        (24.0

Income tax expense

     1,920        1,613        19.0  

Share of result of associates and joint ventures

     (430      (16      —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Profit from operations

     17,152        12,882        33.1  

Depreciation, amortization and impairment

     4,276        3,479        22.9  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

EBITDA, as defined

     21,429        16,361        31.0  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Note:

 

(1) The percentage change reflects the improvement (or worsening) of results for the period as a result of the change in each item.
(2) Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

A performance measure such as EBITDA, as defined, is a non-IFRS measure. The financial measure most directly comparable to EBITDA, as defined, and presented in accordance with IFRS in our consolidated financial statements, is profit of the year. EBITDA, as defined, is a measure used by our management to evaluate our business performance and is defined as profit from operations before depreciation, amortization and impairment. EBITDA, as defined, is a key component of the measures that are provided to senior management on a monthly basis at the group level, the business segment level and lower levels. We believe EBITDA, as defined, is useful to investors for the following reasons.

We believe EBITDA, as defined, facilitates comparisons of our operating performance across our business segments from period to period. In comparison to profit of the year, EBITDA, as defined, excludes items which do not impact the day-to-day operation of our primary business (that is, the selling of beer and other operational businesses) and over which management has little control. Items excluded from EBITDA, as defined, are our share of results of associates and joint ventures, profit from discontinued operations, depreciation and amortization, impairment, financial charges and corporate income taxes, which management does not consider to be items that drive our underlying business performance. Because EBITDA, as defined, includes only items management can directly control or influence, it forms part of the basis for many of our performance targets. For example, certain options under our share-based compensation plan were granted such that they vest only when certain targets derived from EBITDA, as defined, were met.

We further believe that EBITDA, as defined, and measures derived from it, are frequently used by securities analysts, investors and other interested parties in their evaluation of us and in comparison to other companies, many of which present an EBITDA performance measure when reporting their results.

EBITDA, as defined, does, however, have limitations as an analytical tool. It is not a recognized term under IFRS and does not purport to be an alternative to profit as a measure of operating performance, or to cash flows from operating activities as a measure of liquidity. As a result, you should not consider EBITDA, as defined, in isolation from, or as a substitute analysis for, our results of operations. Some limitations of EBITDA, as defined, are:

 

    EBITDA, as defined, does not reflect the impact of financing costs on our operating performance. Such costs are significant in light of our increased debt subsequent to the combination with SAB;

 

90


Table of Contents
    EBITDA, as defined, does not reflect depreciation and amortization, but the assets being depreciated and amortized will often have to be replaced in the future;

 

    EBITDA, as defined, does not reflect the impact of charges for existing capital assets or their replacements;

 

    EBITDA, as defined, does not reflect our tax expense; and

 

    EBITDA, as defined, may not be comparable to other similarly titled measures of other companies because not all companies use identical calculations.

Additionally, EBITDA, as defined, is not intended to be a measure of free cash flow for management’s discretionary use, as it is not adjusted for all non-cash income or expense items that are reflected in our consolidated statement of cash flows.

We compensate for these limitations, in addition to using EBITDA, as defined, by relying on our results calculated in accordance with IFRS.

Our EBITDA, as defined, amounted to USD 21,429 million for the year ended 31 December 2017. This represented an increase of USD 5,068 million, or 31.0%, as compared to our EBITDA, as defined, for the year ended 31 December 2016. The results for the year ended 31 December 2017 reflect the performance of our business after the completion of the acquisitions and disposals we undertook in 2016 and 2017 discussed above, the combination with SAB and currency translation effects. Furthermore, our EBITDA, as defined, was negatively impacted by USD 656 million (before impairment losses) of certain exceptional items in the year ended 31 December 2017, as compared to a negative impact of USD 394 million (before impairment losses) during the year ended 31 December 2016. See “—Exceptional Items” above for a description of the exceptional items during the years ended 31 December 2017 and 2016.

Net Finance Cost

Our net finance cost items were as follows for the years ended 31 December 2017 and 2016:

 

     Year ended
31 December 2017
     Year ended
31 December 2016(2)
     Change  
     (USD millions)      (%)(1)  

Net interest expense

     (4,005      (3,519      (13.8

Net interest on net defined benefit liabilities

     (101      (113      10.6  

Accretion expense

     (614      (648      5.2  

Other financial results

     (1,094      (928      (17.9
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net finance cost before exceptional finance results

     (5,814      (5,208      (11.6

Mark-to-market (Grupo Modelo deferred share instrument)

     (146      (304      52.0  

Mark-to-market (Portion of the FX hedging of the purchase price of the combination with SAB that did not qualify for hedge accounting)

     —          (2,693      —    

Other mark-to-market

     (142      39        —    

Other

     (405      (398      (1.8
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Exceptional net finance income/(cost)

     (693)        (3,356)        79.4  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net finance income/(cost)

     (6,507)        (8,564)        24.0  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Note:

 

(1) The percentage change reflects the improvement (or worsening) of results for the period as a result of the change in each item.
(2) Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

 

91


Table of Contents

Our net finance cost for the year ended 31 December 2017 was USD 6,507 million, as compared to USD 8,564 million for the year ended 31 December 2016, representing a cost decrease of USD 2,057 million.

The increase in net finance costs before exceptional financial items is driven primarily by the annualization impact of the additional debt related to the SAB combination as well as the legacy SAB debt. Other financial results include net losses on hedging instruments, foreign exchange losses and a negative mark-to-market adjustment of USD 291 million in 2017, linked to the hedging of our share-based payment programs compared to a negative mark-to-market adjustment of USD 384 million for the period ended 31 December 2016.

The number of shares covered by the hedging of our share-based payment programs, and the opening and closing share prices are as follows:

 

     Year ended
31 December 2017
     Year ended
31 December 2016
 

Share price at the start of the period (in euro)

     100.55        114.40  

Share price at the end of the period (in euro)

     93.13        100.55  

Number of derivative equity instruments at the end of the period (in millions)

     46.9        53.5  

Exceptional net finance costs include a negative mark-to-market adjustment on exceptional equity derivatives of USD 288 million related to the hedging of the deferred share instrument in connection with the Grupo Modelo combination of USD 146 million and the restricted share instrument in connection with the SAB combination of USD 142 million, compared to a negative mark-to-market adjustment of USD 431 million for the period ended 31 December 2016. The number of shares covered by the hedging of the deferred share instrument and the Restricted Shares, together with the opening and closing share prices, are shown below:

 

     Year ended
31 December 2017
     Year ended
31 December 2016
 

Share price at the start of the period (in euro)(1)

     100.55        114.40  

Share price at the end of the period (in euro)(1)

     93.13        100.55  

Number of derivative equity instruments at the end of the period (in millions)

     45.5        38.1  

 

Note:

 

(1) Upon completion of the combination with SAB on 10 October 2016, former AB InBev Ordinary Shares have been converted into AB InBev Ordinary Shares.

Other exceptional net finance costs of USD 405 million in 2017 mainly relate to non-cash foreign exchange losses on intragroup loans that were historically reported in equity and were recycled from equity to profit and loss account upon reimbursement of these loans, and accelerated accretion expenses associated to the repayment of the 2015 senior facilities agreement and the early redemption of certain notes.

 

92


Table of Contents

Share of Results of Associates and Joint Ventures

Our share of results of associates and joint ventures for the year ended 31 December 2017 was USD 430 million as compared to USD 16 million for the year ended 31 December 2016. The increase is mainly related to the combination with SAB.

Income Tax Expense

Our total income tax expense for the year ended 31 December 2017 amounted to USD 1,920 million, with an effective tax rate of 18.0%, as compared to an income tax expense of USD 1,613 million and an effective tax rate of 37.4% for the year ended 31 December 2016.

The 2017 taxes were positively impacted by a USD 1.8 billion adjustment recognized as an exceptional gain following the U.S. tax reform enacted on 22 December 2017. This USD 1.8 billion adjustment results mainly from the remeasurement of the deferred tax liabilities set up in 2008 in line with IFRS as part of the purchase price accounting of the combination with Anheuser Busch and certain deferred tax assets following the change in federal tax rate from 35% to 21%. The adjustment represents our current best estimate of the deferred tax liability remeasurement resulting from the U.S. tax reform, including state taxes and is recognized as an exceptional gain in the year ended 31 December 2017. The estimate will be updated in 2018 once the company will have analyzed all necessary information, including earnings and profits (E&P) of the foreign subsidiaries of the company’s US operations per 2 November and 31 December 2017 and their cash held abroad to complete the exhaustive computation of the deemed repatriation tax and state taxes. During 2018, we will also assess if a deferred tax liability should be set up in view of the Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income provisions of the US tax reform, for which the company did not set up any deferred tax liabilities by 31 December 2017 and believes the impact to be not material. The estimate may change as the company receives additional clarification and implementation guidance from the authorities.

This impact was partially offset by Ambev and certain of its subsidiaries joining the Brazilian Federal Tax Regularization Program in September 2017 whereby Ambev committed to pay some tax contingencies that were under dispute, totaling BRL 3.5 billion (USD 1.1 billion), with BRL 1.0 billion (USD 0.3 billion) paid in 2017 and the remaining amount payable in 145 monthly installments starting January 2018, plus interest. Within these contingencies, a dispute related to presumed taxation at Ambev’s subsidiary CRBs was not provided for until September 2017 as the loss was previously assessed as possible. The total amount recognized as exceptional is BRL 2.9 billion (USD 0.9 billion) of which BRL 2.8 billion (USD 0.9 billion) is reported as exceptional income tax cost and BRL 141 million (USD 44 million) is reported as exceptional financial cost.

The 2016 effective tax rate was negatively impacted by the non-deductible negative mark-to-market adjustment related to the hedging of the purchase price of the combination with SAB that could not qualify for hedge accounting.

In 2017, we recognized the benefit at the Ambev level from the impact of interest on equity payments and tax deductible goodwill resulting from the merger of Beverage Associates Holding Limited into Ambev in August 2006. See “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions—B. Related Party Transactions—Ambev Special Goodwill Reserve.” The impact of the tax deductible goodwill resulting from the merger of Beverage Associates Holding Limited into Ambev in August 2006 and other mergers was to reduce income tax expense for the year ended 31 December 2017 by USD 53 million. In October 2013 and June 2016, Ambev received a tax assessment related to the goodwill amortization resulting from the merger of Beverage Associates Holding Limited into Ambev. See “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Financial Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal and Arbitration Proceedings—Ambev and Its Subsidiaries—Tax Matters—Special Goodwill Reserve” for further information.

We benefit from tax-exempted income and tax credits which are expected to continue in the future. We do not have significant benefits coming from low tax rates in any particular jurisdiction.

Profit Attributable to Non-Controlling Interests

Profit attributable to non-controlling interests was USD 1,187 million for the year ended 31 December 2017, a decrease of USD 341 million from USD 1,528 million for the year ended 31 December 2016, primarily due the impact of the Brazilian Federal Tax Regularization Program entered into by Ambev, as discussed above. Please refer to note 8, 12 and 32 of our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2017 and 2016, and for the three years ended 31 December 2017 for further information.

 

93


Table of Contents

Profit Attributable to Our Equity Holders

Profit attributable to our equity holders for the year ended 31 December 2017 was USD 7,996 million compared to USD 1,241 million for the year ended 31 December 2016, with basic earnings per share of USD 4.06, based on 1,971 million shares outstanding, representing the weighted average number of ordinary and Restricted Shares outstanding during the year ended 31 December 2017. For the definition of the weighted average number of shares outstanding, see footnote 2 of the table in “Item 3. Key Information—A. Selected Financial Data.”

Excluding the after-tax impact of exceptional items discussed above and the impact of discontinued operations, profit attributable to our equity holders for the year ended 31 December 2017 would have been USD 7,967 million, and basic earnings per share would have been USD 4.04.

The increase in profit attributable to our equity holders in the year ended 31 December 2017 was primarily due to the increased profit, the timing of the prior year SAB pre-acquisition funding costs which were not matched by earnings until the closing of the SAB combination and the reporting of SAB results as of the fourth quarter of 2016, and higher exceptional net finance cost in the year ended 31 December 2016. Profit attributable to our equity holders also benefitted from a one-time deferred tax remeasurement following the U.S. tax reform, partially offset by the impact of the Brazilian Federal Tax Regularization Program entered into by Ambev.

 

     Year ended
31 December 2017
     Year ended
31 December 2016(1)
 
     (USD per share)  

Profit from operations excluding exceptional items(1)

     10.38        7.72  

Mark-to-market (hedging of our share-based payment programs) (1)

     (0.17      (0.22

Pre-funding of the SAB combination(1)

     —          (0.71

Net finance cost(1)

     (3.22      (2.10

Income tax expense(1)

     (1.60      (0.98

Associates & non-controlling interest(1)

     (0.75      (0.88

Share dilution(1)

     (0.60      —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Earnings per share excluding exceptional items and discontinued operations

     4.04        2.83  

Exceptional items, before taxes, attributable to equity holders of AB InBev

     (0.34      (0.23

Exceptional net finance cost, before taxes, attributable to equity holders of AB InBev

     (0.35      (1.96

Exceptional taxes attributable to equity holders of AB InBev

     0.42        0.04  

Exceptional items attributable to non-controlling interest

     0.27        0.01  

Profit from discontinued operations

     0.01        0.03  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Basic earnings per share

     4.06        0.72  

 

Note:

 

(1) Earnings per share before dilution, calculated based upon the weighted average number of shares in the year ended 31 December 2016 of 1,717 million shares. Earnings per share after dilution based upon the weighted average number of shares in the year ended 31 December 2017 of 1,971 million shares.

 

94


Table of Contents

Year Ended 31 December 2016 Compared to the Year Ended 31 December 2015

Volumes

Our reported volumes include both beer (including near beer) and non-beer (primarily carbonated soft drinks) volumes. In addition, volumes include not only brands that we own or license, but also third-party brands that we brew or otherwise produce as a subcontractor and third-party products that we sell through our distribution network, particularly in Europe. Volumes sold by the Global Export and Holding Companies businesses are shown separately. Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

The table below summarizes the volume evolution by business segment.

 

     Year ended
31 December 2016(3)
     Year ended
31 December 2015(2)
     Change  
     (thousand hectoliters)      (%)(1)  

North America

     116,890        118,151        (1.1

Latin America West

     63,618        43,617        45.9  

Latin America North

     118,012        123,468        (4.4

Latin America South

     32,158        34,009        (5.4

EMEA

     75,348        45,481        65.7  

Asia Pacific

     92,278        90,068        2.5  

Global Export and Holding Companies

     1,940        2,522        (23.1
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     500,242        457,317        9.4  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Note:

 

(1) The percentage change reflects the improvement (or worsening) of results for the period as a result of the change in each item.
(2) Effective 1 October 2016, our business segments changed to be as follows: North America, Latin America West, Latin America North, Latin America South, EMEA, Asia Pacific and Global Export and Holding Companies. The figures for the year ended 31 December 2015 have been restated to reflect this allocation.
(3) Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016. The former SAB geographies were included in our business segments as follows: Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Honduras and El Salvador are reported together with Mexico as Latin America West, Panama is reported within Latin America North, Africa is reported together with Europe as EMEA, and Australia, India and Vietnam are reported within Asia Pacific. Exports to countries in which we have operations following the combination with SAB were allocated to the respective regions in the segment reporting.

Our consolidated volumes were 500 million hectoliters for the year ended 31 December 2016. This represented an increase of 43 million hectoliters, or 9.4%, as compared to our consolidated volumes for the year ended 31 December 2015. The results for the year ended 31 December 2016 reflect the performance of our business after the completion of certain acquisitions and disposals we undertook in 2015 and 2016.

 

    The combination with SAB, which was included as from the fourth quarter of 2016 within our consolidated results for the year ended 31 December 2016, increased our volumes by 51.4 million hectoliters. The acquisition of the SAB retained businesses primarily affects our EMEA, Latin America West and Asia Pacific regions, and, to a lesser degree, our Latin America North region.

 

   

Other 2016 acquisitions and disposals mainly include the acquisition of certain craft breweries in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean and the disposal of a brewery in Germany. The 2015 acquisitions and disposals include the termination of certain distribution rights in Europe, the termination of agreements with Crown Imports for the distribution of Grupo Modelo products through

 

95


Table of Contents
 

some of our company-owned distributors in the United States, and with Monster Beverage Corporation, for the distribution of its brands in the United States, as well as the disposal of our soft drink business in Peru. These 2015 and 2016 transactions positively impacted our volumes, in the aggregate, by 0.1 million hectoliters (net) for the year ended 31 December 2016 compared to the year ended 31 December 2015.

For further details of these acquisitions and disposals, see “—A. Key Factors Affecting Results of Operations—Acquisitions, Divestitures and Other Structural Changes.” See also note 6 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2016 and 2015, and for the three years ended 31 December 2016 included in this Form 20-F.

Excluding volume changes attributable to the combination with SAB and the acquisitions and disposals described above, total volumes declined 1.9% in the year ended 31 December 2016 compared to our volumes for the year ended 31 December 2015.

North America

In the year ended 31 December 2016, our volumes in North America decreased by 1.3 million hectoliters, or 1.1%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2015.

We estimate that the United States industry’s beer sales-to-retailers adjusted for the number of selling days declined by 1.0% in the year ended 31 December 2016 compared to the year ended 31 December 2015. On the same basis, we estimate that our shipment volumes in the United States and our beer sales-to-retailers adjusted for the number of selling days declined by 1.7% and 2.0%, respectively. We estimate that our total market share, based on beer sales-to-retailers adjusted for the number of selling days, declined by approximately 50 bps during 2016 compared to 2015, which is a 15 bps trend improvement over 2015.

We estimate that Budweiser sales-to-retailers adjusted for the number of selling days declined by mid-single digits, with the brand’s share of total market down approximately 25 bps in 2016. On the same basis, we estimate that Bud Light’s share of total market was down approximately 50 bps, with some share loss in the premium light category. Our portfolio of above premium brands performed well during the year, with sales-to-retailers adjusted for the number of selling days up by mid-single digits, leading to a gain of approximately 45 bps of total market share, based on our estimate.

In Canada, our volumes increased by low single digits in the year ended 31 December 2016 compared to the year ended 31 December 2015 due to a soft industry.

Latin America West

In the year ended 31 December 2016, our volumes in Latin America West increased by 20.0 million hectoliters, or 45.9%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2015.

The combination with SAB, which was included as from the fourth quarter of 2016 within our consolidated results for the year ended 31 December 2016, increased our volumes by 17.5 million hectoliters.

Excluding volume changes attributable to the combination with SAB and the other acquisitions and disposals described above, our total volumes increased by high single digits compared to the year ended 31 December 2015.

Mexico had another solid year, with strong volume growth following increased investment behind our core brands and further expansion in the northern region, as well as benefiting from a favorable macroeconomic environment. Bud Light and Victoria delivered particularly strong performances, fueled by successful brand activations. Based on our estimates, we gained approximately 20 bps of beer market share in 2016.

 

96


Table of Contents

In Colombia, our beer volumes contracted by mid-single digits on a year-over-year basis for the Combined Group as the business cycled a demanding prior year comparable.

Latin America North

In the year ended 31 December 2016, our volumes in Latin America North decreased by 5.5 million hectoliters, or 4.4%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2015, with our beer volumes and soft drinks decreasing 4.3% and 4.7%, respectively.

The combination with SAB, which was included as from the fourth quarter of 2016 within our consolidated results for the year ended 31 December 2016, increased our volumes by 0.7 million hectoliters.

Excluding volume changes attributable to the combination with SAB and the other acquisitions and disposals described above, as well as the transfer of certain activities from Global Export and Holding Companies, our volumes decreased by 5.9%.

In Brazil, volume performance remained under pressure due to a challenging consumer environment, with declining real disposable income and the rising of the unemployment rate to its highest level since 1995. We estimate that the beer industry volumes declined by approximately 5.3% in the year ended 31 December 2016 compared to the year ended 31 December 2015, and that our market share declined by 120 bps to 66.3%, based on AC Nielsen data.

Latin America South

In the year ended 31 December 2016, our volumes in Latin America South decreased by 1.8 million hectoliters, or 5.4%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2015.

Excluding the other acquisitions and disposals described above, as well as the transfer of certain activities to Latin America West, our volumes decreased by 5.6%, driven by consumption contraction in Argentina due to structural reforms implemented in the country coupled with high inflation, which is the primary driver of our double digit revenue increases.

EMEA

In EMEA, our volumes, including subcontracted volumes, for the year ended 31 December 2016 increased by 29.9 million hectoliters, or 65.7%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2015.

The combination with SAB, which was included as from the fourth quarter of 2016 within our consolidated results for the year ended 31 December 2016, increased our volumes by 30.6 million hectoliters.

Excluding volume changes attributable to the combination with SAB and the other acquisitions and disposals described above, our beer volumes for the year ended 31 December 2016 decreased by low single digits compared to the year ended 31 December 2015. Western Europe total volumes grew by low single digits in the year ended 31 December 2016 compared to the year ended 31 December 2015, driven by market share gains in the majority of our markets, while Eastern Europe total volumes declined by high single digits on the same basis, due to industry weakness and share loss, following price increases mainly on value segment brands in Russia.

Our beer volumes in South Africa declined by mid-single digits on a year-over-year basis for the Combined Group as a result of macroeconomic weakness and a sizable price increase, due to currency and commodity headwinds. However, our premium brands, Castle Lite and Flying Fish, delivered solid volume growth. Nigeria continued to experience double digit volume growth on a year-over-year basis for the Combined Group on the back of increased capacity and further market penetration. Tanzania posted low single digit total volumes decline on a year-over-year basis for the Combined Group due to pressure on consumers’ disposable incomes and as it cycles a difficult comparable. Total volumes in Mozambique grew by low single digits on a year-over-year basis for the Combined Group as we grew market share, despite a difficult macroeconomic situation. In Zambia, an economic slowdown and lower consumer disposable income resulted in a double digit volume decline on a year-over-year basis for the Combined Group despite improvements in our market share.

 

97


Table of Contents

Asia Pacific

For the year ended 31 December 2016, our volumes increased by 2.0 million hectoliters, or 2.2%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2015.

The combination with SAB, which was included as from the fourth quarter of 2016 within our consolidated results for the year ended 31 December 2016, increased our volumes by 2.5 million hectoliters.

Excluding the acquisitions and disposals described above and the combination with SAB, our beer volumes for the year ended 31 December 2016 remained basically flat compared to the year ended 31 December 2015.

In China, we continue to see industry weakness with estimated total industry volumes declining by approximately 3.8% in the year ended 31 December 2016 compared to the year ended 31 December 2015, with our volumes contracting by only 1.2%. This resulted in approximately 45 bps of share gain for us on the back of our strategy to pursue long-term growth in the most profitable core plus, premium and super premium segments due to a growing number of urban middle class and affluent class consumer households. The combined volumes of our core plus, premium and super premium brands now account for over 55% of our total China volumes.

In Australia, we took over distribution rights for Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona, and other premium brands as part of the combination with SAB and became the market leader in the country, especially as Corona is the largest premium imported brand. Despite a soft fourth quarter 2016, we estimate that we gained share in the country in 2016 on a year-over-year basis for the Combined Group.

Global Export and Holding Companies

For the year ended 31 December 2016, Global Export and Holding Companies volumes decreased by 0.2 million hectoliters.

Revenue

Revenue refers to turnover less excise taxes and discounts. See “—A. Key Factors Affecting Results of Operations—Excise Taxes.”

The following table reflects changes in revenue across our business segments for the year ended 31 December 2016, as compared to our revenue for the year ended 31 December 2015.

 

     Year ended
31 December 2016(3)
     Year ended
31 December 2015(2)
     Change  
     (USD millions)      (%)(1)  

North America

     15,698        15,603        0.6  

Latin America West

     5,188        4,079        27.2  

Latin America North

     8,461        9,096        (7.0

Latin America South

     2,850        3,331        (14.4

EMEA

     6,010        4,128        45.5  

Asia Pacific

     6,074        5,784        5.0  

Global Export and Holding Companies

     1,237        1,582        (21.8
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     45,517        43,604        4.4  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Note:

 

(1)

The percentage change reflects the improvement (or worsening) of results for the period as a result of the change in each item.

 

98


Table of Contents
(2) Effective 1 October 2016, our business segments changed to be as follows: North America, Latin America West, Latin America North, Latin America South, EMEA, Asia Pacific and Global Export and Holding Companies. The figures for the year ended 31 December 2015 have been restated to reflect this allocation.
(3) Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

Our consolidated revenue was USD 45,517 million for the year ended 31 December 2016. This represented an increase of USD 1,913 million, or 4.4%, as compared to our consolidated revenue for the year ended 31 December 2015. The results for the year ended 31 December 2016 reflect the performance of our business after the completion of the combination with SAB, certain acquisitions and disposals we undertook in 2015 and 2016 and currency translation effects.

 

    The combination with SAB, which was included from the fourth quarter of 2016 within our consolidated results for the year ended 31 December 2016, positively impacted our consolidated revenue by USD 3,753 million for the year ended 31 December 2016 compared to the year ended 31 December 2015.

 

    Our 2015 consolidated results were impacted by the phasing out of inventory sales and transition services provided under agreements with Constellation Brands, Inc. in connection with the disposal of the Piedras Negras glass plant, the termination of certain distribution rights in Europe and the termination of agreements with Crown Imports, for the distribution of Grupo Modelo products through some of our company-owned distributors in the United States and with Monster, for the distribution of its brands in the United States, as well as the disposal of our soft drink business in Peru (collectively, the “other 2015 acquisitions and disposals”). Furthermore, our 2016 consolidated results were impacted by the continued phasing out of inventory sales and transition services provided under agreements with Constellation Brands, Inc. and by the acquisition of certain craft breweries in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean and the disposal of a brewery in Germany (collectively, the “other 2016 acquisitions and disposals” and together with the other 2015 acquisitions and disposals, the “other 2015 and 2016 acquisitions and disposals”). These acquisitions and disposals negatively impacted our consolidated revenue by USD 87 million (net) for the year ended 31 December 2016 compared to the year ended 31 December 2015.

 

    Our consolidated revenue for the year ended 31 December 2016 also reflects an unfavorable currency translation impact of USD 2,794 million mainly arising from currency translation effects in Latin America South, Latin America North and Latin America West.

Excluding the effects of the business acquisitions and disposals described above, the combination with SAB and currency translation effects, our revenue increased 2.4%, and by 4.4% on a per hectoliter basis, in the year ended 31 December 2016 compared to the year ended 31 December 2015, driven by our revenue management initiatives and brand mix, as we continue to implement premiumization strategies. Our consolidated revenue for the year ended 31 December 2016 was partly impacted by the developments in volumes discussed above.

On the same basis, the main business segments contributing to growth in our consolidated revenues were: (i) Latin America South, as a result of high inflation; (ii) Latin America West, driven by our revenue management initiatives as well as packaging mix in Mexico; (iii) EMEA, mainly driven by European revenue growth due to premiumization, largely through the continued growth of our global brand portfolio; and (iv) Asia Pacific, driven by the growth of our premium and super premium portfolio, as well as improved regional mix. Furthermore, the growth in revenue was partly offset by a challenging consumer environment in Brazil.

Combined revenues of our three global brands grew by 6.5% in 2016, with global revenues for Budweiser growing by 2.8%, for Stella Artois by 6.3% and for Corona by 14.3%.

 

99


Table of Contents

Cost of Sales

The following table reflects changes in the cost of sales across our business segments for the year ended 31 December 2016 as compared to the year ended 31 December 2015:

 

     Year ended
31 December 2016(3)
     Year ended
31 December 2015(2)
     Change  
     (USD millions)      (%)(1)  

North America

     (5,858      (6,122      4.3  

Latin America West

     (1,470      (1,118      (31.5

Latin America North

     (3,169      (3,032      (4.5

Latin America South

     (927      (1,148      19.3  

EMEA

     (2,590      (1,712      (51.2

Asia Pacific

     (2,855      (2,840      (0.5

Global Export and Holding Companies

     (935      (1,166      19.8  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     (17,803      (17,137      (3.9
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Note:

 

(1) The percentage change reflects the improvement (or worsening) of results for the period as a result of the change in each item.
(2) Effective 1 October 2016, our business segments changed to be as follows: North America, Latin America West, Latin America North, Latin America South, EMEA, Asia Pacific and Global Export and Holding Companies. The figures for the year ended 31 December 2015 have been restated to reflect this allocation.
(3) Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

Our consolidated cost of sales was USD 17,803 million for the year ended 31 December 2016. This represented an increase of USD 666 million or 3.9%, as compared to our consolidated cost of sales for the year ended 31 December 2015. The results for the year ended 31 December 2016 reflect the performance of our business after the completion of the combination with SAB, certain acquisitions and disposals we undertook in 2015 and 2016 and currency translation effects.

 

    The combination with SAB, which was included as from the fourth quarter of 2016 within our consolidated results for the year ended 31 December 2016, negatively impacted our consolidated cost of sales by USD 1,428 million for the year ended 31 December 2016 compared to the year ended 31 December 2015.

 

    The 2015 and 2016 acquisitions and disposals described above positively impacted our consolidated cost of sales by USD 129 million for the year ended 31 December 2016 compared to the year ended 31 December 2015.

 

    Our consolidated cost of sales for the year ended 31 December 2016 also reflects a positive currency translation impact of USD 913 million mainly arising from currency translation effects in Latin America South, Latin America North and Latin America West.

Excluding the effects of the business acquisitions and disposals described above, the combination with SAB and currency translation effects, our cost of sales increased by 1.7%. On a per hectoliter basis, our cost of sales increased by mid-single digits, driven primarily by unfavorable foreign exchange transactional impacts, higher depreciation from recent investments and product mix. Our consolidated cost of sales for the year ended 31 December 2016 was partly impacted by the developments in volumes discussed above.

 

100


Table of Contents

Operating Expenses

The discussion below relates to our operating expenses, which equal the sum of our distribution expenses, sales and marketing expenses, administrative expenses and other operating income and expenses (net), for the year ended 31 December 2016 as compared to the year ended 31 December 2015. Our operating expenses do not include exceptional charges, which are reported separately.

Our operating expenses for the year ended 31 December 2016 were USD 14,439 million, representing an increase of USD 1,740 million, or 13.7% compared to our operating expenses for 2015.

 

     Year ended
31 December 2016(2)
     Year ended
31 December 2015
     Change  
     (USD millions)      (%)(1)  

Distribution expenses

     (4,543      (4,259      (6.7

Sales and marketing expenses

     (7,745      (6,913      (12

Administrative expenses

     (2,882      (2,560      (12.6

Other operating income/(expenses)

     732        1,032        (29.1
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

     (14,439      (12,700      (13.7
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Note:

 

(1) The percentage change reflects the improvement (or worsening) of results for the period as a result of the change in each item.
(2) Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

Selling, General and Administrative Expenses

The following table reflects changes in our selling, general and administrative expenses across our business segments for the year ended 31 December 2016 as compared to the year ended 31 December 2015:

 

     Year ended
31 December 2016(3)
     Year ended
31 December 2015(2)
     Change  
     (USD millions)      (%)(1)  

North America

     (4,438      (4,113      (7.9

Latin America West

     (1,805      (1,541      (17.1

Latin America North

     (2,618      (2,601      (0.7

Latin America South

     (704      (780      9.7  

EMEA

     (2,163      (1,647      (31.4

Asia Pacific

     (2,364      (2,253      (4.9

Global Export and Holding Companies

     (1,080      (797      (35.6
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     (15,171      (13,731      (10.5
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Note:

 

(1) The percentage change reflects the improvement (or worsening) of results for the period as a result of the change in each item.
(2) Effective 1 October 2016, our business segments changed to be as follows: North America, Latin America West, Latin America North, Latin America South, EMEA, Asia Pacific and Global Export and Holding Companies. The figures for the year ended 31 December 2015 have been restated to reflect this allocation.
(3) Following completion of the combination with SAB, we consolidated SAB and report results and volumes of the retained SAB operations as of the fourth quarter of 2016.

 

101


Table of Contents

Our consolidated selling, general and administrative expenses were USD 15,171 million for the year ended 31 December 2016. This represented an increase of USD 1,440 million, or 10.5%, as compared to the year ended 31 December 2015. The results for the year ended 31 December 2016 reflect the performance of our business after the completion of certain acquisitions and disposals we undertook in 2015 and 2016 and currency translation effects.

 

    The combination with SAB, which was included as from the fourth quarter of 2016 within our consolidated results for the year ended 31 December 2016, negatively impacted our consolidated selling, general and administrative expenses by USD 1,213 million for the year ended 31 December 2016 compared to the year ended 31 December 2015.

 

    The 2015 and 2016 acquisitions and disposals described above negatively impacted our consolidated operating expenses by USD 149 million for the year ended 31 December 2015.

 

    Our consolidated operating expenses for the year ended 31 December 2016 also reflect a positive currency translation impact of USD 977 million.

Excluding the effects of the business acquisitions and disposals described above, the combination with SAB and currency translation effects, our consolidated selling, general and administrative expenses increased by 7.7%, with increased support behind the long-term growth of our brands and sales activations. The increased investments included further support for the growth of our global brands and our premiumization initiatives.

Other Operating Income/(Expenses)

The following table reflects changes in other operating income and expenses across our business segments for the year ended 31 December 2016 as compared to the year ended 31 December 2015:

 

     Year ended
31 December 2016(3)
     Year ended
31 December 2015(2)
     Change  
     (USD millions)      (%)(1)  

North America

     39        50        (22.0

Latin America West

     75        231        (67.5

Latin America North

     328        557        (41.1

Latin America South

     20        7        185.7