AB InBev hikes profit despite selling less beer

STORY: AB InBev earned more profit than expected in the fourth quarter.

That as higher prices offset a fall in beer sales.

The company's overall core profit rose 7.6% on a like-for-like basis in Q4 to $4.95 billion, better than analysts projected.

The world's largest brewer owns major brands like Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois.

It said Thursday (March 2) that drinks volumes fell globally by 0.6% in the final quarter of last year.

That was a surprise to the market, which expected a rise.

The beer maker saw a sharp fall in sales and earnings in China.

That due to the country's strict health crisis policies, which were only dropped in December.

AB InBev's Asian subsidiary said it was optimistic for a business recovery this year as China reopens.

The U.S. is the beer maker's largest market.

Profit and revenue rose there largely due to price increases.

But those hikes and harsh winter weather cut beer sales in volume terms.

Brewers have raised prices due to higher energy and raw material costs.

AB InBev shares fell up to 3% after the update.