>> Americans may be losing their taste for this stuff. The world's biggest brewer says sales of Budweiser and other beers sliding in the US, and that spells trouble for ABInBev. Third quarter core profit up far less than expected for the Belgian-based giant. Reuters Phil Blakensop is following the story.
>> In the case of the United States, beer sales in general have been declining. In the case of ABinBev, it's main beers, which are Budweiser and Bud Light, have been losing out to craft lagers for the past decade or so. In the case of Brazil, in the case of South Africa, there are issues related to consumer confidence there.
For example, disposable income may be being under pressure. People less able, whether it be to buy beer, or at least to buy more expensive beers with the higher margins.>> That comes as the company battles to trim a $100 billion debt pile it wrapped up buying rival SAB Miller in 2016.
Perhaps no surprise, then, that Thursday saw ABInBev slash its dividend in half. $4 billion originally destined for shareholders, now freed up to pay down the debts.>> Now, of course, we don't exactly know what the kinda ultimate look on motive is for reducing the debt in such an accelerated kind of way.
Is it perhaps to keep their powder dry for a potential acquisition in future? Is it to word off the threat, which is possible, of a ratings caught towards but not into junk status territory.>> ABinBev warning that growth will remain modest. It's shares sinking to five year lows Thursday after the news.
It's investors might be needing, a stiff drink.