Other media has reported that Brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev has warned over the steepest decline in quarterly profit for at least a decade after coronavirus cost it around £132 million in lost profit.
The world’s biggest brewing giant, which is behind the Corona, Budweiser and Stella Artois brands, forecast first quarter earnings will tumble by about 10% after the virus outbreak saw demand slump in China as it also coincided with the Chinese New Year, sending its shares 8% lower.
AB InBev estimates the earnings hit across China after seeing around £221 million of lost sales in the first two months of 2020 alone due to coronavirus – also known as Covid-19. The Belgium-based group said: ‘The impact of the Covid-19 virus outbreak on our business continues to evolve.
‘The outbreak has led to a significant decline in demand in China in both on-premise and in-home channels. Additionally, demand during the Chinese New Year was lower than in previous years as it coincided with the beginning of this outbreak.’
Last month Google said that searches for Corona lager had increased by 1,100 per cent with people looking for ‘beer virus’ and ‘corona beer virus’.
There is no link between coronavirus and Corona lager.
Searches for coronavirus symptoms increased by 1,050 per cent and ‘what is coronavirus?’ and ‘is coronavirus deadly?’ were among the top five questions people were asking.
The Corona maker’s warning comes amid a swathe of company alerts over the impact of coronavirus on demand and supply, with Microsoft also adding to the growing list.
The US tech giant revealed overnight it will miss revenue guidance for its Windows and Surfaces businesses and blamed uncertainty over coronavirus and an impact on its supply chain, while a raft of UK firms also revealed the toll taken on Thursday, including banking giant Standard Chartered.
AB InBev also admitted its 2019 performance was ‘below our expectations’ as net profits slumped to £88 million in the final three months from £353 million a year earlier.
Underlying earnings fell 3% over the full-year to £16.3 billion.