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Rise in profits for world's largest brewer

Anheuser-Busch sees 39 per cent rise. However, weak sales forecast in key markets the US and Brazil.

The world's largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB), had a 39 per cent rise in profits, to $1.2bn (£735m) during the last three months of its financial year.

Cost savings were chiefly responsible for the growth, with beer sales for the quarter up 1.4 per cent and 2.1 per cent for 2010 as a whole.

However, the company, who own Stella Artois and Budweiser, has forecast weak beer sales over the next few months as key markets the US and Brazil recover.

In the US high unemployment is having a negative impact on beer sales; it has shipped 0.9 per cent less beer.

AB's share of the US market is around 50 per cent.

Heavy rain affected sales in Brazil, where the company has around 70 per cent of the market, but AB still believes Latin America, as well as Asia, offer good growth prospects.

The company is trying to establish Budweiser as a global brand and hopes new product launches, such as Budweiser Lime in China and Stella Artois Black in the UK, will boost sales.