The world's largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), has said that it is scrapping its 2020 outlook due to the increasing scale of the coronavirus crisis.
The Belgium-based maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona had forecast at the end of February that core profit (EBITDA) would decline by 10% in the first quarter, and by between 2% and 5% for the full year.
At the time, the coronavirus crisis was largely confined to China.
"Since 27 February 2020, the scale and magnitude of COVID-19 has increased significantly, resulting in restrictions imposed on many customers, as well as other limitations and social distancing measures in many countries in mid-March," the company said in a statement
"Given the uncertainty, volatility and fast-moving developments of the pandemic in the markets in which AB InBev operates, the company is withdrawing that 2020 outlook in its entirety because of the impact of COVID-19," it said.
Australian Operations Sale
The company said that it is pressing ahead with a $11 billion sale to Asahi Group Holdings of its Australian operations and hopes to get regulatory approvals to allow the deal to close as soon as possible in the second quarter of 2020.
The deal had initially been set to close in the first quarter.