4Q11 results were weaker than expected on the volume side and better than slightly better than expected on EBITDA because of strong pricing. 4Q11 volumes declined by 0.6% organically to 99.47m hl (KBCS 101.2m, css 101.6m) which was below the 3Q organic trend (of -0.2% y/y), and below guidance of a better volume momentum. Revenue grew by 5.7% organically to $ 9,873m (KBCS $ 10,024m, css $ 9,866m) on a very strong 7.2% revenue growth per hl (on a constant geo-mix basis). Normalized EBITDA was up 8.8% in total and 12.2% organically to $ 4,237m, vs our and css forecasts of $ 4,189m and $ 4,143m. Normalized net profit increased from $ 1,219m to $ 1,959m which was significantly better than expected (KBCS $ 1,609m, css $ 1,679m), partly helped by gains on derivative contracts on share-based payment programs (which are not-recurrent. Divisional comments below (all percentages are organic changes):
North America: 4Q volumes -4.5% to 28.01m hl (KBCS 28.60m, css 28.81m). Market share down 60bps in FY11 and flat in Canada. 4Q revenue -0.3% to $ 3,513m (KBCS $ 3,597m, css $ 3,589m) and Normalized EBITDA -1.1% to $ 1,522m (KBCS $ 1,604m, css $ 1,588m).
Latin America North: 4Q volumes +0.6% to 35.13m hl (KBCS 37.02m, css 36.33m) on poor weather. Market share in Brazil down 110bps in FY11 on aggressive pricing. Revenue +9.6% to $ 3,330m (KBCS $ 3,478m, css $ 3,329m); EBITDA +23.2% to $ 1,903m (KBCS $ 1,857m, css $ 1,794m).
Latin America South: 4Q volumes +2.0% to 10.75m hl (KBCS 10.69m, css 10.80m). Revenue +26.2% to $ 889m (KBCS $ 834m, css $ 834m) and Normalized EBITDA +28.3% to $ 455m (KBCS $ 410m, css $ 412m)
Western Europe: 4Q volumes -2.0% to 7.59m hl (KBCS 7.46m, css 7.62m). Revenue -4.5% to $ 924m (KBCS $ 936m, css $ 927m) and Normalized EBITDA +21.7% to $ 309m (KBCS $ 243m, css $ 249m)
CEE: 4Q volumes -4.6% to 5.49m hl (KBCS 5.52m, css 5.70m). Revenue +8.6% to $ 384m (KBCS $ 377m, css $ 370m) and Normalized EBITDA -41.4% to $ 42m (KBCS $ 53m, css $ 71m)
Asia Pacific: 4Q volumes +6.1% to 10.71m hl (KBCS 10.29m, css 10.49m). Revenue +19.1% to $ 493m (KBCS $ 402m, css $ 452m) and Normalized EBITDA +31.8% to $ 65m (KBCS $ 56m, css $ 60m)
Net debt landed at $ 34.7bn (KBCS $ 35.8bn, css $ 35.2bn). Net debt/EBITDA ratio stood at 2.26x at year-end which is in line with the guidance of less than 2.5x. The company will propose to increase the dividend from € 0.80 per share to € 1.20 (KBCS € 1.0, css € 1.1).The company guided at an encouraging start of the year in volume terms. ABI expects softer shipments in the US in 2Q12 and more favourable shipments in the other three quarters. In Brazil, volumes should be better than last year, with a low to mid single digit growth expected in 1Q12. FY12 revenue per hl growth is expected to grow ahead of inflation (which is guided to increase by mid single digits); with a beer revenue per hl growth in Brazil in line with inflation (below in 1Q12). Sales and Marketing expenses are guided to grow by mid to high single digits. Net debt/EBITDA is still guided to reach 2x during 2012. No surprises.
Conclusion: 4Q volumes were weaker than expected but thanks to strong pricing EBITDA was slightly higher than expected. The strong pricingwill continue to support profitability in 2012 as well. We stick to our Accumulate rating but decided to increase out target price from € 47 to € 54.