Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A. 20-F 2011
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
For the fiscal year ended 31 December 2010
Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
(Translation of Registrants name into English)
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
3000 Leuven, Belgium
(Address of principal executive offices)
Chief Legal and Corporate Affairs Officer
Brouwerijplein 1, 3000 Leuven
Telephone No.: + 32 16 27 61 11
Fax No.: + 32 16 50 61 11
(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act.
(Title of Class)
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act.
(Title of Class)
Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuers classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report.
1,605,183,954 ordinary shares
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. x Yes ¨ No
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. ¨ Yes x No
Note Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. x Yes ¨ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).* ¨ Yes x No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non-accelerated filer. See definition of accelerated filer and large accelerated filer in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer x Accelerated filer ¨ Non-accelerated filer ¨
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
If Other has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow. N/A ¨ Item 17 ¨ Item 18
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). ¨ Yes x No
(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Section 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court. N/A ¨ Yes ¨ No
TABLE OF CONTENTS
In this annual report on Form 20-F (Form 20-F) references to:
PRESENTATION OF FINANCIAL AND OTHER DATA
We have prepared our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010, in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board, and in conformity with International Financial Reporting Standards as adopted by the European Union (IFRS). The financial information and related discussion and analysis contained in this item are presented in U.S. dollars except as otherwise specified. Unless otherwise specified, the financial information analysis in this Form 20-F is based on our actual audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010.
Prior to 1 January 2009, we used the euro as our financial statements presentation currency. Effective 1 January 2009, we changed the presentation currency of our consolidated financial statements from the euro to the U.S. dollar, reflecting the post-Anheuser-Busch acquisition profile of our revenue and cash flows, which are now primarily generated in U.S. dollars and U.S. dollar-linked currencies. We believe that this change provides greater alignment of our presentation currency with our most significant operating currency and underlying financial performance. Unless otherwise specified, all financial information included in this Form 20-F has been stated in U.S. dollars.
For financial periods ending after the date of consummation of the Anheuser-Busch acquisition on 18 November 2008, InBev and its subsidiaries and Anheuser-Busch and its subsidiaries have been consolidated into a common group. Therefore, our actual consolidated financial statements after the date of consummation of the Anheuser-Busch acquisition differ materially from the actual historical financial statements of InBev prior to the consummation of the Anheuser-Busch acquisition presented in this Form 20-F.
Following the Anheuser-Busch acquisition and the resulting increased leverage, we completed a series of assets disposals in 2009 and have utilized certain of the proceeds from such disposals to repay indebtedness incurred to finance the Anheuser-Busch acquisition. Accordingly, the financial information presented in this Form 20-F may not reflect the scope of our business as it will be conducted in the future.
All references in this Form 20-F to (i) euro or EUR are to the common currency of the European Union, (ii) U.S. dollar, $, or USD are to the currency of the United States, (iii) CAD are to the currency of Canada, (iv) real or reais are to the currency of Brazil, and (v) GBP (pounds sterling) are to the currency of the United Kingdom.
Unless otherwise specified, volumes, as used in this Form 20-F, include both beer and non-beer (primarily carbonated soft drinks) volumes. In addition, unless otherwise specified, our volumes include not only brands that we own or license, but also third-party brands that we brew or otherwise produce as a subcontractor, and third-party products that we sell through our distribution network, particularly in Western Europe. Our volume figures in this Form 20-F reflect 100% of the volumes of entities that we fully consolidate in our financial reporting and a proportionate share of the volumes of entities that we proportionately consolidate in our financial reporting, but do not include volumes of our associates or non-consolidated entities. Our pro rata share of volumes in Grupo Modelo, S.A.B. de C.V. (Grupo Modelo) and Tsingtao Brewery Co., Ltd. (Tsingtao) (the latter of which we disposed of in June 2009) are not included in the reported volumes.
Certain monetary amounts and other figures included in this Form 20-F have been subject to rounding adjustments. Accordingly, any discrepancies in any tables between the totals and the sums of amounts listed are due to rounding.
PRESENTATION OF MARKET INFORMATION
Market information (including market share, market position and industry data for our operating activities and those of our subsidiaries or of companies acquired by us) or other statements presented in this Form 20-F regarding our position (or that of companies acquired by us) relative to our competitors largely reflect the best estimates of our management. These estimates are based upon information obtained from customers, trade or business organizations and associations, other contacts within the industries in which we operate and, in some cases, upon published statistical data or information from independent third parties. Except as otherwise stated, our market share data, as well as our managements assessment of our comparative competitive position, has been derived by comparing our sales figures for the relevant period to our managements estimates of our competitors sales figures for such period, as well as upon published statistical data and information from independent third parties, and, in particular, the reports published and the information made available by, among others, the local brewers associations and the national statistics bureaus in the various countries in which we sell our products. The principal sources generally used include Plato Logic Limited and AC Nielsen, as well as Beer Institute (for the United States), the Brewers Association of Canada (for Canada), CCR (for Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru), CIES (for Bolivia), CAVEFACE (for Venezuela), AC Nielsen (for Argentina), FECU (for Chile), Belgian Brewers (for Belgium), MREB (for Montenegro), the National Statistics Bureau (for China), the British Beer and Pub Association (for the United Kingdom), Deutscher Brauer-Bund (for Germany), Centraal Brouwerij KantoorCBK (for the Netherlands), Association des Brasseurs de France (for France), Associazione degli Industriali della Birra e del Malto (for Italy), Fédération des Brasseurs Luxembourgeois (for Luxembourg), Ukrainian Brewers Association (for Ukraine), the Czech Beer and Malt Association (for the Czech Republic), the MEMRB (for Romania), Union of Brewers in Bulgaria (UBB) (for Bulgaria), government statistics (for Cuba) and other local brewers associations. You should not rely on the market share and other market information presented herein as precise measures of market share or of other actual conditions.
There are statements in this Form 20-F, such as statements that include the words or phrases will likely result, are expected to, will continue, is anticipated, estimate, project, may or similar expressions that are forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those suggested by these statements due to, among others, the risks or uncertainties listed below. See also Item 3. Key InformationD. Risk Factors for further discussion of risks and uncertainties that could impact our business.
These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. Rather, they are based on current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside our control and are difficult to predict, that may cause actual results or developments to differ materially from any future results or developments expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements include, among others:
Certain of the cost savings and synergies information related to the Anheuser-Busch acquisition set forth in Item 4. Information on the CompanyB. Business Overview1. Strengths and StrategyStrengths of this Form 20-F constitute forward-looking statements and may not be representative of the actual cost savings and synergies that will result from the Anheuser-Busch acquisition because they are based on estimates and assumptions that are inherently subject to significant uncertainties which are difficult to predict, and accordingly, there can be no assurance that these cost savings and synergies will be realized.
Our statements regarding market risks, including interest rate risk, foreign exchange rate risk, commodity risk, asset price risk, equity market risk, inflation and deflation, are subject to uncertainty. For example, certain market risk disclosures are dependent on choices about key model characteristics and assumptions and are subject to various limitations. By their nature, certain of the market risk disclosures are only estimates and, as a result, actual future gains and losses could differ materially from those that have been estimated.
We caution that the forward-looking statements in this Form 20-F are further qualified by the risk factors disclosed in Item 3. Key InformationD. Risk Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Subject to our obligations under Belgian and U.S. law in relation to disclosure and ongoing information, we undertake no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
A. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
The selected historical financial information presented below as of 31 December 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006, and for the five years ended 31 December 2010 has been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements, which were prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards, as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board, and in conformity with International Financial Reporting Standards as adopted by the European Union (IFRS).
The selected historical financial information presented in the tables below should be read in conjunction with, and is qualified in its entirety by reference to, our audited consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes. The audited consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes as of 31 December 2010 and 2009 and for the three years ended 31 December 2010 have been included in this Form 20-F.
Effective 1 January 2009, we changed the presentation currency of our consolidated financial statements from the euro to the U.S. dollar, reflecting the post-Anheuser-Busch acquisition profile of our revenue and cash flows, which are now primarily generated in U.S. dollars and U.S. dollar-linked currencies. We believe that this change provides greater alignment of our presentation currency with our most significant operating currency and underlying financial performance. Unless otherwise specified, all financial information included in this Form 20-F has been stated in U.S. dollars.
D. RISK FACTORS
Investing in our shares involves risk. We expect to be exposed to some or all of the risks described below in our future operations. Such risks include, but are not limited to, the risk factors described below. Any of the risk factors described below, as well as additional risks of which we are not currently aware, could also affect our business operations and have a material adverse effect on our business activities, financial condition, results of operations and prospects and cause the value of our shares to decline. Moreover, if and to the extent that any of the risks described below materialize, they may occur in combination with other risks which would compound the adverse effect of such risks on our business activities, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Investors in our shares and American Depositary Shares (ADSs) could lose all or part of their investment.
You should carefully consider the following information in conjunction with the other information contained or incorporated by reference in this document. The sequence in which the risk factors are presented below is not indicative of their likelihood of occurrence or of the potential magnitude of their financial consequences.
Risks Relating to Our Business
We are exposed to the risks of an economic recession, credit and capital market volatility and economic and financial crisis, which could adversely affect the demand for our products and adversely affect the market price of our shares and ADSs.
We are exposed to the risk of a global recession or a recession in one or more of our key markets, credit and capital market volatility and an economic or financial crisis, which could result in lower revenue and reduced profit. Any such development could adversely affect demand for beer, which could result in a deterioration in our results of operations.
Beer and soft drinks consumption in many of the jurisdictions in which we operate is closely linked to general economic conditions, with levels of consumption tending to rise during periods of rising per capita income and fall during periods of declining per capita income. Additionally, per capita consumption is inversely related to the sale price of our products.
Besides moving in concert with changes in per capita income, beer consumption also increases or decreases in accordance with changes in disposable income.
Currently, disposable income is low in many of the developing countries in which we operate compared to disposable income in more developed countries. Any decrease in disposable income resulting from an increase in inflation, income taxes, the cost of living, unemployment levels, political or economic instability or other factors would likely adversely affect demand for beer. Moreover, because a significant portion of our brand portfolio consists of premium beers, our volumes and revenue may be impacted to a greater degree than those of some of our competitors, as some consumers may choose to purchase value or discount brands rather than super-premium, premium or mainstream/core brands. For additional information on the categorization of the beer market and our positioning, see Item 4. Information on the CompanyB. Business Overview2. Principal Activities and ProductsBeer.
Capital and credit market volatility, such as that experienced recently, may result in downward pressure on stock prices and credit capacity of issuers. A continuation or worsening of the levels of market disruption and volatility seen in the recent past could have an adverse effect on our ability to access capital, on our business, results of operations and financial condition, and on the market price of our shares and ADSs.
Our results of operations are affected by fluctuations in exchange rates.
Although we report our consolidated results in U.S. dollars, in 2010, we derived approximately 60% of our revenue from operating companies that have non-U.S. dollar functional currencies (in most cases, in the local currency of the respective operating company). Consequently, any change in exchange rates between our operating
companies functional currencies and the U.S. dollar will affect our consolidated income statement and balance sheet when the results of those operating companies are translated into U.S. dollars for reporting purposes. Decreases in the value of our operating companies functional currencies against the U.S. dollar will tend to reduce those operating companies contributions in dollar terms to our financial condition and results of operations.
In addition to currency translation risk, we incur currency transaction risks whenever one of our operating companies enters into transactions using currencies other than their respective functional currencies, including purchase or sale transactions and the issuance or incurrence of debt. Although we have hedge policies in place to manage commodity price and foreign currency risks to protect our exposure to currencies other than our operating companies functional currencies, there can be no assurance that such policies will be able to successfully hedge against the effects of such foreign exchange exposure, particularly over the long-term.
Moreover, although we seek to match borrowing currency liabilities to functional currency cash flows, following the Anheuser-Busch acquisition, much of our debt is denominated in U.S. dollars, while a significant portion of our cash flows are denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. From time to time we enter into financial instruments to mitigate currency risk, but these transactions and any other efforts taken to better match the effective currencies of our liabilities to our cash flows could result in increased costs.
See Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market RiskMarket Risk, Hedging and Financial Instruments and note 29 to our audited financial information as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010, for further details on our approach to hedging commodity price and foreign currency risk.
Changes in the availability or price of raw materials, commodities and energy could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.
A significant portion of our operating expenses are related to raw materials and commodities, such as malted barley, hops, wheat, corn grits, corn syrup, rice, sugar, water, glass bottles, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin, aluminum cans, labels, metal closures, plastic closures and folding cartons.
The supply and price of raw materials and commodities used for the production of our products can be affected by a number of factors beyond our control, including the level of crop production around the world, export demand, quality and availability of supply, speculative movements in the raw materials or commodities markets, currency fluctuations, governmental regulations and legislation affecting agriculture, trade agreements among producing and consuming nations, adverse weather conditions, natural disasters, economic factors affecting growth decisions, political developments, various plant diseases and pests.
We cannot predict future availability or prices of the raw materials or commodities required for our products. The markets in certain raw materials or commodities have experienced and may in the future experience shortages and significant price fluctuations. The foregoing may affect the price and availability of ingredients that we use to manufacture our products, as well as the cans and bottles in which our products are packaged. We may not be able to increase our prices to offset these increased costs or increase our prices without suffering reduced volume, revenue and operating income. We use both fixed-price purchasing contracts and commodity derivatives to minimize our exposure to commodity price volatility. To some extent, derivative financial instruments and the terms of supply agreements can protect against increases in materials and commodities costs in the short term. However, derivatives and supply agreements expire and upon expiry are subject to renegotiation and therefore cannot provide complete protection over the medium or longer term. To the extent we fail to adequately manage the risks inherent in such volatility, including if our hedging and derivative arrangements do not effectively or completely hedge against changes in commodity prices, our results of operations may be adversely impacted. In addition, it is possible that the hedging and derivative instruments we use to establish the purchase price for commodities in advance of the time of delivery may lock us into prices that are ultimately higher than actual market prices at the time of delivery. See Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market RiskMarket Risk, Hedging and Financial Instruments for further details on our approach to hedging commodity price risk.
The production and distribution of our products require material amounts of energy, including the consumption of oil-based products and electricity. Energy prices have been subject to significant price volatility in
the recent past and may be again in the future. High energy prices over an extended period of time, as well as changes in energy taxation and regulation in certain geographies, may result in a negative effect on operating income and could potentially challenge our profitability in certain markets. There is no guarantee that we will be able to pass along increased energy costs to our customers in every case.
The production of our products also requires large amounts of water, including water consumption in the agricultural supply chain. Changes in precipitation patterns and the frequency of extreme weather events may affect our water supply and, as a result, our physical operations. Water may also be subject to price increases in certain areas, and changes in water taxation and regulation in certain geographies may result in a negative effect on operating income which could potentially challenge our profitability in certain markets. There is no guarantee that we will be able to pass along increased water costs to our customers in every case.
We may not be able to obtain the necessary funding for our future capital or refinancing needs and we face financial risks due to our level of debt and uncertain market conditions.
We may be required to raise additional funds for our future capital needs or refinance our current indebtedness through public or private financing, strategic relationships or other arrangements. There can be no assurance that the funding, if needed, will be available on attractive terms, or at all. We may be required to issue additional equity under unfavorable conditions, which could dilute our existing shareholders. See Risks Related to Our Shares and American Depositary SharesFuture equity issuances may dilute the holdings of current shareholders or ADS holders and could materially affect the market price of our shares or ADSs. Furthermore, any debt financing, if available, may involve restrictive covenants.
We incurred substantial indebtedness in connection with the Anheuser-Busch acquisition. We financed the Anheuser-Busch acquisition in part with a fully committed USD 45 billion senior debt facility (the 2008 Senior Facilities Agreement) (of which USD 44 billion was ultimately drawn). On 26 February 2010, we entered into USD 17.2 billion of senior credit agreements, including a USD 13 billion senior facilities agreement (the 2010 Senior Facilities Agreement), which, together with the proceeds from a series of debt captial markets offerings enabled us to fully refinance the remaining debt outstanding under the 2008 Senior Facilities Agreement. These facilities extend our debt maturities while building additional liquidity, thus enhancing our credit profile as evidenced by the improved terms under the facilities, which do not include financial covenants or mandatory prepayment provisions. On 6 April 2010, we drew USD 10.1 billion under the 2010 Senior Facilities Agreement and fully repaid the 2008 Senior Facilities Agreement, which has been terminated. The terms of the 2010 Senior Facilities Agreement, as well as its intended use, are described under Item 10. Additional InformationC. Material Contracts2010 Senior Facilities Agreement.
As was the case with the 2008 Senior Facilities Agreement, the debt capital market offerings and the 2010 Senior Facilities Agreement we entered into in order to refinance the 2008 Senior Facilities Agreement could have significant consequences, including based on whether or not we are able to refinance the indebtedness incurred in connection with the Anheuser-Busch acquisition, and even if fully refinanced, the portion of our consolidated balance sheet represented by debt will remain significantly higher as compared to our historical position until we complete our deleveraging.
Our continued increased level of debt could have significant consequences, including:
Further, a credit rating downgrade could have a material adverse effect on our ability to finance our ongoing operations or to refinance our existing indebtedness. In addition, if we fail to comply with the covenants or other terms of any agreements governing these facilities, our lenders will have the right to accelerate the maturity of that debt.
We have reduced the amount of dividends paid in the first years after the closing of the Anheuser-Busch acquisition and may continue to restrict the amount of dividends we will pay as a result of our level of debt and our strategy to reduce our leverage.
Our ability to repay our outstanding indebtedness will depend upon market conditions. In 2009 and 2008, the global credit markets have experienced significant price volatility, dislocations and liquidity disruptions that caused the cost of debt financings to fluctuate considerably. The markets also put downward pressure on stock prices and credit capacity for certain issuers without regard to those issuers underlying financial strength. Reflecting concern about the stability of the financial markets generally and the strength of counterparties, many lenders and institutional investors reduced, and in some cases, ceased to provide funding to borrowers. If such uncertain conditions return, our costs could increase beyond what is anticipated. Such costs could have a material adverse impact on our cash flows, results of operations or both. In addition, an inability to refinance all or a substantial amount of our debt obligations when they become due, or more generally a failure to raise additional equity capital or debt financing or to realize proceeds from asset sales when needed, would have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Our results could be negatively affected by increasing interest rates.
We use issuances of debt and bank borrowings as a source of funding and, following the Anheuser-Busch acquisition, our level of debt has increased significantly. Nevertheless, pursuant to our capital structure policy, we aim to optimize shareholder value through tax efficient maximization of cash flow distribution to us from our subsidiaries, while maintaining an investment-grade rating and minimizing cash and investments with a return below our weighted average cost of capital.
Some of the debt we have issued or incurred was issued or incurred at variable interest rates, which exposes us to changes in such interest rates. As of 31 December 2010, after certain hedging and fair value adjustments, USD 11.9 billion, or 26.6%, of our interest-bearing financial liabilities (which include loans, borrowings and bank overdrafts) bore a variable interest rate, while USD 33.0 billion, or 73.4%, bore a fixed interest rate. Moreover, a significant part of our external debt is denominated in non-U.S. dollar currencies, including the euro, Brazilian real and the Canadian dollar. Although we enter into interest rate swap agreements to manage our interest rate risk, and also enter into cross-currency interest rate swap agreements to manage both our foreign currency risk and interest-rate risk on interest-bearing financial liabilities, there can be no assurance that such instruments will be successful in reducing the risks inherent in exposures to interest rate fluctuations. See Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market RiskMarket Risk, Hedging and Financial Instruments and note 29 to our audited financial statements as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010, for further details on our approach to foreign currency and interest-rate risk.
Certain of our operations depend on independent distributors or wholesalers to sell our products.
Certain of our operations are dependent on government-controlled or privately owned but independent wholesale distributors for distribution of our products for resale to retail outlets. See Item 4. Information on the CompanyB. Business Overview7. Distribution of Products and Item 4. Information on the CompanyB. Business Overview11. Regulations Affecting Our Business for further information in this respect. There can be no assurance as to the financial affairs of such distributors or that these distributors, who often act both for us and our competitors, will not give our competitors products higher priority, thereby reducing their efforts to sell our products.
In the United States, for instance, we sell substantially all of our beer to independent wholesalers for distribution to retailers and ultimately consumers. As independent companies, wholesalers make their own business decisions that may not always align themselves with our interests. If our wholesalers do not effectively distribute our products, our financial results could be adversely affected.
In addition, contractual restrictions and the regulatory environment of many markets may make it very difficult to change distributors in a number of markets. In certain cases, poor performance by a distributor or wholesaler is not a sufficient reason for replacement. Our consequent inability to replace unproductive or inefficient distributors could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Competition could lead to a reduction of our margins, increase costs and adversely affect our profitability.
Globally, brewers compete mainly on the basis of brand image, price, quality, distribution networks and customer service. Consolidation has significantly increased the capital base and geographic reach of our competitors in some of the markets in which we operate, and competition is expected to increase further as the trend towards consolidation among companies in the beer industry continues.
Competition may divert consumers and customers from our products. Competition in our various markets could cause us to reduce pricing, increase capital investment, increase marketing and other expenditures, prevent us from increasing prices to recover higher costs, and thereby cause us to reduce margins or lose market share. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Innovation faces inherent risks, and the new products we introduce may not be successful.
Additionally, the absence of level playing fields in some markets and the lack of transparency, or even certain unfair or illegal practices, such as tax evasion and corruption, may skew the competitive environment in favor of our competitors, with material adverse effects on our profitability or ability to operate.
The ability of our subsidiaries to distribute cash upstream may be subject to various conditions and limitations.
To a large extent, we are organized as a holding company and our operations are carried out through subsidiaries. Our domestic and foreign subsidiaries and affiliated companies ability to upstream or distribute cash (to be used, among other things, to meet our financial obligations) through dividends, intercompany advances, management fees and other payments is, to a large extent, dependent on the availability of cash flows at the level of such domestic and foreign subsidiaries and affiliated companies and may be restricted by applicable laws and accounting principles. In particular, 39.3% (USD 14.3 billion) of our total revenue of USD 36.3 billion in 2010 came from our Brazilian listed subsidiary Companhia de Bebidas das AméricasAmBev (AmBev), which is not wholly-owned and is listed on the São Paulo Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange. Certain of our equity investments (such as our investment in Grupo Modelo S.A.B. de C.V.) contribute cash flow to us through dividend payments but are not controlled by us, and our receipt of dividend payments from these entities is therefore outside our control. In addition to the above, some of our subsidiaries are subject to laws restricting their ability to pay dividends or the amount of dividends they may pay. See Item 5. Operating and Financial ReviewG. Liquidity and Capital ResourcesTransfers from Subsidiaries and Item 10. Additional InformationF. Dividends and Paying Agents for further information in this respect.
If we are not able to obtain sufficient cash flows from our domestic and foreign subsidiaries and affiliated companies, this could adversely impact our ability to pay our substantially increased debt resulting from the Anheuser-Busch acquisition and otherwise negatively impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.
An inability to reduce costs could affect profitability.
Our future success and earnings growth depend in part on our ability to be efficient in producing, advertising and selling our products and services. We are pursuing a number of initiatives to improve operational efficiency. Failure to generate significant cost savings and margin improvement through these initiatives could adversely affect our profitability and our ability to achieve our financial goals.
We are exposed to emerging market risks.
A substantial proportion of our operations, representing approximately 43.2% of our 2010 revenue, are carried out in emerging markets, including Brazil, Argentina, China, Russia, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Ukraine. We also have equity investments in brewers in China and Mexico.
Our operations and equity investments in these markets are subject to the customary risks of operating in developing countries, which include potential political and economic uncertainty, application of exchange controls, nationalization or expropriation, crime and lack of law enforcement, political insurrection, external interference, financial risks, changes in government policy, political and economic changes, changes in the relations between the countries, actions of governmental authorities affecting trade and foreign investment, regulations on repatriation of funds, interpretation and application of local laws and regulations, enforceability of intellectual property and contract rights, local labor conditions and regulations. Such factors could affect our results by causing interruptions to our operations or by increasing the costs of operating in those countries or by limiting our ability to repatriate profits from those countries. Financial risks of operating in emerging markets also include risks of liquidity, inflation (for example, Brazil, Argentina and Russia have periodically experienced extremely high rates of inflation), devaluation (for example, the Brazilian and Argentine currencies have been devalued frequently during the last four decades), price volatility, currency convertibility and country default. These various factors could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition. Due to our geographic mix, these factors could affect us more than our competitors with less exposure to emerging markets, and any general decline in emerging markets as a whole could impact us disproportionately compared to our competitors.
We may not be able to successfully carry out further acquisitions and business integrations or restructuring.
We have made in the past and may make in the future acquisitions of, investments in, and joint venture and similar arrangements with, other companies and businesses. We cannot make such further transactions unless we can identify suitable candidates and agree on the terms with them. Such transactions also involve a number of risks. We may not be able to successfully complete such transactions. After completion of a transaction, we may be required to integrate the acquired companies, businesses or operations into our existing operations. In addition, such transactions may involve the assumption of certain actual or potential, known or unknown, liabilities, which may have a potential impact on our financial risk profile. Further, the price we may pay in any future transaction may prove to be too high as a result of various factors, such as a significant change in market conditions, the limited opportunity to conduct due diligence prior to a purchase or unexpected changes in the acquired business.
An impairment of goodwill or other intangible assets would adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
As a result of the Anheuser-Busch acquisition, we recognized USD 32.9 billion of goodwill on our balance sheet and recorded several brands from the Anheuser-Busch business (including brands in the Budweiser brand family, the Michelob brand family, the Busch brand family and the Natural brand family) as intangible assets with indefinite life with a fair value of USD 21.4 billion. If the combination of the businesses meets with unexpected difficulties, or if our business does not develop as expected, impairment charges may be incurred in the future that could be significant and that could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
We rely on the reputation of our brands.
Our success depends on our ability to maintain and enhance the image and reputation of our existing products and to develop a favorable image and reputation for new products. The image and reputation of our products may be reduced in the future; concerns about product quality, even when unfounded, could tarnish the image and reputation of our products. An event, or series of events, that materially damages the reputation of one or more of our brands could have an adverse effect on the value of that brand and subsequent revenues from that brand or business. Restoring the image and reputation of our products may be costly and may not be possible. Moreover, our marketing efforts are subject to restrictions on the permissible advertising style, media and messages used. In a number of countries, for example, television is a prohibited medium for advertising alcoholic products, and in other countries, television advertising, while permitted, is carefully regulated. Any additional restrictions in such
countries, or the introduction of similar restrictions in other countries, may constrain our brand building potential and thus reduce the value of our brands and related revenues.
Negative publicity may harm our business.
Media coverage, and publicity generally, can exert significant influence on consumer behavior and actions. If the social acceptability of beer or soft drinks were to decline significantly, sales of our products could materially decrease. In recent years, there has been increased public and political attention directed at the alcoholic beverage and soft drink industries. This attention is a result of public concern over alcohol-related problems, including drunk driving, underage drinking and health consequences resulting from the misuse of beer (for example, alcoholism), as well as soft-drink related problems, including health consequences resulting from the excessive consumption of soft drinks (for example, obesity). Negative publicity regarding alcohol or soft drink consumption, publication of studies that indicate a significant health risk from consumption of alcohol or soft drinks, or changes in consumer perceptions in relation to alcohol or soft drinks generally could adversely affect the sale and consumption of our products and could harm our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition as consumers and customers change their purchasing patterns. For example, in Russia and Ukraine, concerns about alcohol abuse and underage drinking supported the recent increase of excise tax on regular-strength beer by 200% and 23.3% respectively. See The beer and beverage industry may be subject to changes in taxation. Russian and Ukrainian authorities are also looking at other legislative changes. Russia is considering a ban on the sale of beer exceeding 5% in its alcohol content in kiosks, a ban on the sale of beer exceeding 5% in its alcohol content during night hours, a ban on advertising beer exceeding 5% in its alcohol content on TV and radio and a further increase of excise taxes. Ukraine is considering a ban on the sale of beer in kiosks, implementing permits for the consumption of beer which can be consumed only in licensed premises and in private accommodations, a ban or imposing limitations on direct beer advertising, and a further increase of excise and other beer related taxes such as taxes on the development of viticulture, horticulture and hop-growing. We see similar measures being proposed in other countries where we operate to restrict our commercial freedoms and impose additional taxes, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay. Such changes could have an adverse effect on our ability to sell and advertise our products and increase our costs if they are enacted into law.
Key brand names are used by us, our subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures, and are licensed to third-party brewers. To the extent that we, one of our subsidiaries, associates, joint ventures or licensees are subject to negative publicity, and the negative publicity causes consumers and customers to change their purchasing patterns, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition. As we continue to expand our operations into emerging and growth markets, there is a greater risk that we may be subject to negative publicity, in particular in relation to labor rights and local work conditions. Negative publicity that materially damages the reputation of one or more of our brands could have an adverse effect on the value of that brand and subsequent revenues from that brand or business, which could adversely impact our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.
Demand for our products may be adversely affected by changes in consumer preferences and tastes.
We depend on our ability to satisfy consumer preferences and tastes. Consumer preferences and tastes can change in unpredictable ways due to a variety of factors, such as changes in demographics, consumer health and wellness, concerns about obesity or alcohol consumption, product attributes and ingredients, changes in travel, vacation or leisure activity patterns, weather, negative publicity resulting from regulatory action or litigation against us or comparable companies or a downturn in economic conditions. Consumers also may begin to prefer the products of competitors or may generally reduce their demand for products in the category. Failure by us to anticipate or respond adequately either to changes in consumer preferences and tastes or to developments in new forms of media and marketing could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Seasonal consumption cycles and adverse weather conditions may result in fluctuations in demand for our products.
Seasonal consumption cycles and adverse weather conditions in the markets in which we operate may have an impact on our operations. This is particularly true in the summer months, when unseasonably cool or wet weather can affect sales volumes. Demand for beer is normally more depressed in our major markets in the Northern
Hemisphere during the first and fourth quarters of each year, and our consolidated net revenue from those markets is therefore normally lower during this time. Although this risk is somewhat mitigated by our relatively balanced footprint in both hemispheres, we are relatively more exposed to the markets in the Northern Hemisphere than to the markets in the Southern Hemisphere since the closing of the Anheuser-Busch acquisition, which could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Climate change, or legal, regulatory or market measures to address climate change, may negatively affect our business or operations, and water scarcity or poor quality could negatively impact our production costs and capacity.
There is a growing concern that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may have an adverse impact on global temperatures, weather patterns and the frequency and severity of extreme weather and natural disasters. In the event that such climate change has a negative effect on agricultural productivity, we may be subject to decreased availability or less favorable pricing for certain agricultural commodities that are necessary for our products, such as barley, hops, sugar and corn. In addition, public expectations for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions could result in increased energy, transportation and raw material costs and may require us to make additional investments in facilities and equipment due to increased regulatory pressures. As a result, the effects of climate change could have a long-term, material adverse impact on our business and results of operations.
We also face water scarcity risks. The availability of clean water is a limited resource in many parts of the world, facing unprecedented challenges from climate change and the resulting change in precipitation patterns and frequency of extreme weather, overexploitation, increasing pollution, and poor water management. As demand for water continues to increase around the world, and as water becomes scarcer and the quality of available water deteriorates, we may be affected by increasing production costs or capacity constraints, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
If any of our products is defective or found to contain contaminants, we may be subject to product recalls or other liabilities.
We take precautions to ensure that our beverage products are free from contaminants and that our packaging materials (such as bottles, crowns, cans and other containers) are free of defects. Such precautions include quality-control programs for primary materials, the production process and our final products. We have established procedures to correct problems detected.
In the event that contamination or a defect does occur in the future, it may lead to business interruptions, product recalls or liability, each of which could have an adverse effect on our business, reputation, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
Although we maintain insurance policies against certain product liability (but not product recall) risks, we may not be able to enforce our rights in respect of these policies, and, in the event that contamination or a defect occurs, any amounts that we recover may not be sufficient to offset any damage we may suffer, which could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights.
Our future success depends significantly on our ability to protect our current and future brands and products and to defend our intellectual property rights, including trademarks, patents, domain names, trade secrets and know-how. We have been granted numerous trademark registrations covering our brands and products and have filed, and expect to continue to file, trademark and patent applications seeking to protect newly developed brands and products. We cannot be sure that trademark and patent registrations will be issued with respect to any of our applications. There is also a risk that we could, by omission, fail to renew a trademark or patent on a timely basis or that our competitors will challenge, invalidate or circumvent any existing or future trademarks and patents issued to, or licensed by, us.
Although we have taken appropriate action to protect our portfolio of intellectual property rights (including trademark registration and domain names), we cannot be certain that the steps we have taken will be sufficient or that third parties will not infringe upon or misappropriate proprietary rights. Moreover, some of the countries in which we operate, such as China, offer less intellectual property protection than is available in Europe or the United States. If we are unable to protect our proprietary rights against infringement or misappropriation, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition, and in particular, on our ability to develop our business.
We rely on key third parties, including key suppliers, and the termination or modification of the arrangements with such third parties could negatively affect our business.
We rely on key third-party suppliers, including third-party suppliers for a range of raw materials for beer and soft drinks such as malted barley, wheat, corn grits, corn syrup, rice, yeast, hops, adjuncts, water, flavored concentrate, fruit concentrate, sugar or sweetener, and for packaging material, such as glass or PET bottles, aluminum or steel cans and kegs, labels, bottle caps, soda ash, plastic crates, metal closures, plastic closures, folding cartons, preforms and cardboard products.
We seek to limit our exposure to market fluctuations in these supplies by entering into medium- and long-term fixed-price arrangements. We have a limited number of suppliers of aluminum cans, and glass bottles. Consolidation of the aluminum can industry, and glass bottle industry in certain markets in which we operate has reduced local supply alternatives and increased the risk of disruption to aluminum can, and glass bottle supplies. Although we generally have other suppliers of raw materials and packaging materials, the termination of or material change to arrangements with certain key suppliers, disagreements with suppliers as to payment or other terms, or the failure of a key supplier to meet our contractual obligations or otherwise deliver materials consistent with current usage would or may require us to make purchases from alternative suppliers, in each case at potentially higher prices than those agreed with this supplier, and this could have a material impact on our production, distribution and sale of beer and soft drinks and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.
A number of key brand names are both licensed to third-party brewers and used by companies over which we do not have control. For instance, our global brand Stella Artois is licensed to third parties in Algeria, Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, New Zealand, and Romania, and another global brand, Becks, is licensed to third parties in Algeria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Romania, Serbia, and Tunisia. Finally, Budweiser is licensed to third parties in, amongst other countries, Argentina, India, Japan, South Korea, Panama and Spain. See Item 4. Information on the CompanyB. Business Overview8. Licensing for more information in this respect. To the extent that one of these key brand names or our joint ventures, investments in companies in which we do not own a controlling interest and our licensees are subject to negative publicity, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.
For certain packaging supplies and raw materials, we rely on a small number of important suppliers. If these suppliers became unable to continue to meet our requirements, and we are unable to develop alternative sources of supply, our operations and financial results could be adversely affected.
The consolidation of retailers may adversely affect us.
The retail industry in Europe, the United States and in other countries in which we operate continues to consolidate. Large retailers may seek to improve profitability and sales by asking for lower prices or increased trade spending. Although retailers purchase products from wholesalers (including in a number of markets, from our wholesaler operations), rather than directly from us, the efforts of retailers could result in reduced profitability for the beer industry as a whole and indirectly adversely affect our financial results.
We could incur significant costs as a result of compliance with, and/or violations of or liabilities under, various regulations that govern our operations.
Our business is highly regulated in many of the countries in which we operate. The regulations adopted by the authorities in these countries govern many parts of our operations, including brewing, marketing and advertising (in particular to persons under the legal drinking age), transportation, distributor relationships and sales. We may be subject to claims that we have not complied with existing laws and regulations, which could result in fines, penalties or loss of operating licenses. We are also routinely subject to new or modified laws and regulations with which we must comply in order to avoid claims, fines and other penalties, which could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition. We may also be subject to laws and regulations aimed at reducing the availability of beer products in some of our markets to address alcohol abuse and other social issues. There can be no assurance that we will not incur material costs or liabilities in connection with compliance with applicable regulatory requirements, or that such regulation will not interfere with our beer or soft drinks businesses.
The level of regulation to which our businesses are subject can be affected by changes in the public perception of beer and soft drinks consumption. In recent years, there has been increased social and political attention in certain countries directed at the alcoholic beverage and soft drinks industries, and governmental bodies may respond to any public criticism by implementing further regulatory restrictions on opening hours, drinking ages or marketing activities (including the marketing or selling of beer at sporting events). Such public concern and any resulting restrictions may cause the social acceptability of beer or soft drinks to decline significantly and consumption trends to shift away from these products, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. For common regulations and restrictions on us, see Item 4. Information on the CompanyB. Business Overview11. Regulations Affecting Our Business and Item 5. Operating and Financial ReviewA. Key Factors Affecting Results of OperationsGovernmental Regulations.
We are exposed to the risk of litigation.
We are now and may in the future be party to legal proceedings and claims and significant damages may be asserted against us. See Item 8. Financial InformationA. Consolidated Financial Statements and Other Financial InformationLegal and Arbitration Proceedings and Item 5. Operating and Financial ReviewH. Contractual Obligations and ContingenciesContingencies and note 32 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010 for a description of certain material contingencies which we believe are reasonably possible (but not probable) to be realized. Given the inherent uncertainty of litigation, it is possible that we might incur liabilities as a consequence of the proceedings and claims brought against us, including those that are not currently believed by us to be reasonably possible.
Moreover, companies in the alcoholic beverage industry are, from time to time, exposed to collective suits (class actions) or other litigation relating to alcohol advertising, alcohol abuse problems or health consequences from the excessive consumption of alcohol. As an illustration, certain beer and alcoholic beverage producers from Brazil, Canada, Europe and the United States were recently involved in class actions in the United States seeking damages for alleged marketing of alcoholic beverages to underage consumers. If any of these types of litigation result in fines, damages or reputational damage for us, this could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial position.
See Item 8. Financial InformationA. Consolidated Financial Statements and Other Financial InformationLegal and Arbitration Proceedings for additional information on litigation matters.
The beer and beverage industry may be subject to changes in taxation.
Taxation on our beer and non-beer products in the countries in which we operate is comprised of different taxes specific to each jurisdiction, such as excise and other indirect taxes. In many jurisdictions, such excise and other indirect taxes make up a large proportion of the cost of beer charged to customers. Increases in excise and other indirect taxes applicable to our products either on an absolute basis or relative to the levels applicable to other beverages tend to adversely affect our revenue or margins, both by reducing overall consumption of our products and by encouraging consumers to switch to lower-taxed categories of beverages. These increases also adversely affect the affordability of our products and our profitability. For example, in November 2008, the Brazilian Congress
approved certain changes (effective 1 January 2009) to the taxable basis and tax rates of Imposto Sobre Produtos Industrializados (the Brazilian federal excise tax) and the PIS/COFINS (Brazilian social contributions). Under the old system, taxes were paid as a fixed rate per hectoliter. The new system provides for higher taxes per hectoliter for higher-priced brands than lower-priced brands, based on a consumer price table. In 2011, the Brazilian government, through a market survey of prices of beverage products in Brazil, updated the consumer price table, effective as of 4 April 2011. As a result, the actual increase in Ambevs federal excise tax and PIS/COFINS tax burden, which now depends on Ambevs packaging and brand mix, is approximately 13% for beer and non alcoholic beverages, on average.
Similarly, the United States brewing industry is subject to significant taxation. The U.S. federal government currently levies an excise tax of $18 per barrel (equivalent to 1.1734776 hectoliters) on beer sold for consumption in the United States. All states also levy excise and/or sales taxes on alcoholic beverages. From time to time, there are proposals to increase these taxes, and as a result of the current economic climate and the fiscal difficulties of some states, these proposals have become more prevalent. In 2009, the States of Illinois, New York and North Carolina increased their excise taxes on alcohol, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts instituted a sales tax on off-premise alcohol sales and the State of Kentucky increased its retail tax rate on off-premise alcohol sales. In 2010, the State of Washington adopted a temporary increase in the excise tax on alcohol. In addition, although no legislation has been introduced to this effect, there have been proposals to increase federal excise taxes on alcohol to raise revenue to pay the costs of health care proposals. Increases in excise taxes on alcohol could adversely affect our United States business and its profitability.
On 1 January 2010, Russia implemented an increase in the excise tax on regular-strength beer by 200% and, in 2009, Ukraine almost doubled the excise taxes on all beers. In May 2010, the excise tax in Ukraine was further increased by 23% and the water tax by 400%. As of 1 January 2011, water tax in Ukraine further increased by 65%. These taxes have resulted in significant price increases in both countries, and may cause our volumes of beer sold in Russia and Ukraine to decrease. Though the Russian government seems to be demonstrating a more moderate approach towards beer excise taxes (11.1% from 1 January 2011 and a 20% expected increase in 2012), there is still a risk of a further excise tax increase in 2012 which might have an adverse impact on our future sales in Russia. In Ukraine, there is also a strong possibility of further increases in water tax and advertising tax. In January 2011, Bolivia enacted excise tax increases on alcoholic beverages. See Negative publicity may harm our business.
Proposals to increase excise or other indirect taxes may result from the current economic climate and may also be influenced by changes in the public perception regarding the consumption of alcohol and soft drinks. To the extent that the effect of the tax reforms described above or other proposed changes to excise and other indirect duties in the countries in which we operate is to increase the total burden of indirect taxation on our products, the results of our operations in those countries could be adversely affected.
In addition to excise and other indirect duties, we are subject to income and other taxes in the countries in which we operate. There can be no assurance that the operations of our breweries and other facilities will not become subject to increased taxation by national, local or foreign authorities or that we and our subsidiaries will not become subject to higher corporate income tax rates or to new or modified taxation regulations and requirements. Any such increases or changes in taxation would tend to adversely impact our results of operations.
We are exposed to antitrust and competition laws in certain jurisdictions and the risk of changes in such laws or in the interpretation and enforcement of existing antitrust and competition laws.
We are subject to antitrust and competition laws in the jurisdictions in which we operate, and in a number of jurisdictions we produce and/or sell a significant portion of the beer consumed. Consequently, we may be subject to regulatory scrutiny in certain of these jurisdictions. For instance, our Brazilian listed subsidiary, AmBev, has been subject to monitoring by Brazilian antitrust authorities (see Item 8. Financial InformationA. Consolidated Financial Statements and Other Financial InformationLegal and Arbitration ProceedingsAmBev and its SubsidiariesAntitrust Matters). There can be no assurance that the introduction of new competition laws in the jurisdictions in which we operate, the interpretation of existing antitrust or competition laws or the enforcement of existing antitrust or competition laws, or any agreements with antitrust or competition authorities, against us or our subsidiaries, including AmBev, will not affect our business or the businesses of our subsidiaries in the future.
Our operations are subject to environmental regulations, which could expose us to significant compliance costs and litigation relating to environmental issues.
Our operations are subject to environmental regulations by national, state and local agencies, including, in certain cases, regulations that impose liability without regard to fault. These regulations can result in liability which might adversely affect our operations. The environmental regulatory climate in the markets in which we operate is becoming stricter, with a greater emphasis on enforcement.
While we have budgeted for future capital and operating expenditures to maintain compliance with environmental laws and regulations, there can be no assurance that we will not incur substantial environmental liability or that applicable environmental laws and regulations will not change or become more stringent in the future.
We operate a joint venture in Cuba, in which the Government of Cuba is our joint venture partner. Cuba has been identified by the U.S. Department of State as a state sponsor of terrorism and is targeted by broad and comprehensive economic and trade sanctions of the United States. Our operations in Cuba may adversely affect our reputation and the liquidity and value of our securities.
We own indirectly a 50% equity interest in Cerveceria Bucanero S.A., a Cuban company in the business of producing and selling beer. The other 50% equity interest is owned by the Government of Cuba. Cerveceria Bucanero S.A. is operated as a joint venture in which we appoint the general manager. Cerveceria Bucanero S.A.s main brands are Bucanero and Cristal. In 2010, Cerveceria Bucanero S.A. sold 1.1 million hectoliters, representing about 0.3% of our global volume of 399 million hectoliters for the year. Although Cerveceria Bucanero S.A.s production is primarily sold in Cuba, a small portion of its production is exported and sold by certain of our non-U.S. affiliates in other countries outside Cuba (but not the United States). Cerveceria Bucanero S.A. also imports and sells in Cuba a small quantity of Becks branded products produced by one of our German subsidiaries.
Cuba has been identified by the United States government as a state sponsor of terrorism, and the U.S. Treasury Departments Office of Foreign Assets Control and the U.S. Commerce Department together administer and enforce broad and comprehensive economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy towards Cuba. Although our operations in Cuba are quantitatively immaterial, our overall business reputation may suffer or we may face additional regulatory scrutiny as a result of our activities in Cuba based on Cubas identification as a state sponsor of terrorism and target of U.S. economic and trade sanctions. In addition, there are initiatives by federal and state lawmakers in the United States, and certain U.S. institutional investors, including pension funds, to adopt laws, regulations or policies requiring divestment from, or reporting of interests in, or to facilitate divestment from, companies that do business with countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism, including Cuba. If investors decide to liquidate or otherwise divest their investments in companies that have operations of any magnitude in Cuba, the market in and value of our securities could be adversely impacted.
In addition, the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (known as the Helms-Burton Act) authorizes private lawsuits for damages against anyone who traffics in property confiscated without compensation by the Government of Cuba from persons who at the time were, or have since become, nationals of the United States. Although this section of the Helms-Burton Act is currently suspended by discretionary presidential action, the suspension may not continue in the future. Claims accrue notwithstanding the suspension and may be asserted if the suspension is discontinued. The Helms-Burton Act also includes a section that authorizes the U.S. Department of State to prohibit entry into the United States of non-U.S. persons who traffic in confiscated property, and corporate officers and principals of such persons, and their families. We have received notice of claims purporting to be made under the Helms-Burton Act relating to Cerveceria Bucanero S.A.s use of a trademark, which is alleged to have been confiscated by the Cuban government and trafficked by us through our ownership and management of Cerveceria Bucanero S.A. Although we have attempted to review and evaluate the validity of the claims, due to the uncertain underlying circumstances, we are currently unable to express a view as to the validity of such claims, or as to the standing of the claimants to pursue them.
We may not be able to recruit or retain key personnel.
In order to develop, support and market our products, we must hire and retain skilled employees with particular expertise. The implementation of our strategic business plans could be undermined by a failure to recruit or retain key personnel or the unexpected loss of senior employees, including in acquired companies.
Our success following the Anheuser-Busch acquisition will also depend, among other things, on our capacity to retain the key employees of Anheuser-Busch and InBev. These key employees could leave their employment because of the uncertainties about their roles in our combined company, difficulties related to the combination, or a general desire not to remain with us. Redundancies and early retirements at Anheuser-Busch, made in connection with the integration of InBev and Anheuser-Busch following the Anheuser-Busch acquisition, could also impact our ability to retain key personnel at Anheuser-Busch and relations with the Anheuser-Busch workforce. Moreover, we will have to address issues inherent in the management of a greater number of employees in some very diverse geographic areas. Therefore, it is not certain that we will be able to attract or retain our key employees and successfully manage them, which could disrupt our business and have an unfavorable material effect on our financial position, our income from operations and our competitive position.
We are exposed to labor strikes and disputes that could lead to a negative impact on our costs and production level.
Our success depends on maintaining good relations with our workforce. In several of our operations, a majority of our workforce is unionized. For instance, a majority of the hourly employees at our breweries in the United States are represented by unions. Our production may be affected by work stoppages or slowdowns as a result of disputes under existing collective labor agreements with labor unions. We may not be able to satisfactorily renegotiate our collective labor agreements when they expire and may face tougher negotiations or higher wage and benefit demands. Furthermore, a work stoppage or slowdown at our facilities could interrupt the transport of raw materials from our suppliers or the transport of our products to our customers. Such disruptions could put a strain on our relationships with suppliers and clients and may have lasting effects on our business even after the disputes with our labor force have been resolved, including as a result of negative publicity.
Our production may also be affected by work stoppages or slowdowns that affect our suppliers, distributors and retail delivery/logistics providers as a result of disputes under existing collective labor agreements with labor unions, in connection with negotiations of new collective labor agreements, as a result of supplier financial distress, or for other reasons.
A strike, work stoppage or slowdown within our operations or those of our suppliers, or an interruption or shortage of raw materials for any other reason (including but not limited to financial distress, natural disaster, or difficulties affecting a supplier) could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, financial condition and ability to operate our business.
Information technology failures could disrupt our operations.
We increasingly rely on information technology systems to process, transmit, and store electronic information. A significant portion of the communication between our personnel, customers, and suppliers depends on information technology. As with all large systems, our information systems may be vulnerable to a variety of interruptions due to events beyond our control, including, but not limited to, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, telecommunications failures, computer viruses, hackers or other security issues. These or other similar interruptions could disrupt our operations, cash flows or financial condition.
We depend on information technology to enable us to operate efficiently and interface with customers, as well as to maintain in-house management and control. We have also entered into various information technology services agreements (with, among others, IBM, BT and Accenture) pursuant to which our information technology infrastructure is outsourced.
In addition, the concentration of processes in shared services centers means that any disruption could impact a large portion of our business within the operating zones served. If we do not allocate, and effectively manage, the resources necessary to build and sustain the proper technology infrastructure, we could be subject to transaction errors, processing inefficiencies, loss of customers, business disruptions, or the loss of or damage to intellectual property through security breach. As with all information technology systems, our system could also be penetrated by outside parties intent on extracting information, corrupting information or disrupting business processes. Such interruptions could disrupt our business and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.
Natural and other disasters could disrupt our operations.
Our business and operating results could be negatively impacted by social, technical or physical risks such as earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, fire, power loss, loss of water supply, telecommunications and information technology system failures, political instability, military conflict and uncertainties arising from terrorist attacks, including a global economic slowdown, the economic consequences of any military action and associated political instability.
Our insurance coverage may not be sufficient.
The cost of some of our insurance policies could increase in the future. In addition, some types of losses, such as losses resulting from wars, acts of terrorism, or natural disasters, generally are not insured because they are either uninsurable or it is not economically practical to obtain insurance. Moreover, insurers recently have become more reluctant to insure against these types of events. Should an uninsured loss or a loss in excess of insured limits occur, this could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Risks Related to Our Shares and American Depositary Shares
The market price of our shares and ADSs may be volatile.
The market price of our shares and ADSs may be volatile as a result of various factors, many of which are beyond our control. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
The market price of our shares and ADSs may be adversely affected by any of the preceding or other factors regardless of our actual results of operations and financial condition.
Our controlling shareholder may use its controlling interest to take actions not supported by our minority shareholders.
As of the last date we were notified of its shareholding, 21 December 2010, our controlling shareholder (Stichting Anheuser-Busch InBev) owned 41.31% of our shares (and Stichting Anheuser-Busch InBev and certain other entities acting in concert with it held, in the aggregate, 52.49% of our shares), in each case based on the number of our shares outstanding on 21 December 2010 (see Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party TransactionsA. Major Shareholders). Stichting Anheuser-Busch InBev has the ability to effectively control or have a significant influence on the election of our Board of Directors and the outcome of corporate actions requiring shareholder approval, including dividend policy, mergers, share capital increases, going-private transactions and other extraordinary transactions. See Item 10. Additional InformationB. Memorandum and Articles of Association and Other Share InformationDescription of the Rights and Benefits Attached to Our Shares for further information in this respect. The interests and time horizons of Stichting Anheuser-Busch InBev may differ from those of other shareholders. As a result of its influence on our business, Stichting Anheuser-Busch InBev could prevent us from making certain decisions or taking certain actions that would protect the interests of our other shareholders. For example, this concentration of ownership may delay or prevent a change of control of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, even in the event that this change of control may benefit other shareholders generally. Similarly, Stichting Anheuser-Busch InBev could prevent us from taking certain actions that would dilute its percentage interest in our shares, even if such actions would generally be beneficial to us and/or to other shareholders. These and other factors related to Stichting Anheuser-Busch InBevs holding of a controlling interest in our shares may reduce the liquidity of our shares and ADSs and their attractiveness to investors.
Fluctuations in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the euro may increase the risk of holding our ADSs and shares.
Our shares currently trade on Euronext Brussels in euros and our ADSs trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in U.S. dollars. Fluctuations in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the euro may result in temporary differences between the value of our ADSs and the value of our ordinary shares, which may result in heavy trading by investors seeking to exploit such differences. This may increase the volatility of, and have an adverse effect on, the price of our shares or ADSs.
In addition, as a result of fluctuations in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the euro, the U.S. dollar equivalent of the proceeds that a holder of our ADSs would receive upon the sale in Belgium of any shares withdrawn from the American Depositary Receipt (ADR) depositary and the U.S. dollar equivalent of any cash dividends paid in euros on our shares represented by the ADSs could also decline.
Future equity issuances may dilute the holdings of current shareholders or ADS holders and could materially affect the market price of our shares or ADSs.
We may in the future decide to offer additional equity to raise capital or for other purposes. Any such additional offering could reduce the proportionate ownership and voting interests of holders of our shares and ADSs, as well as our earnings per share or ADS and net asset value per share or ADS, and any offerings by us or our main shareholders could have an adverse effect on the market price of our shares and ADSs.
Investors may not be able to participate in equity offerings, and ADS holders may not receive any value for rights that we may grant.
Our constitutional documents provide for preference rights to be granted to our existing shareholders unless such rights are disapplied by resolution of our shareholders meeting or the Board of Directors. Our shareholders meeting or Board of Directors may disapply such rights in future equity offerings. In addition, certain shareholders (including those in the United States, Australia, Canada or Japan) may not be entitled to exercise such rights even if they are not disapplied unless the rights and related shares are registered or qualified for sale under the relevant legislation or regulatory framework. As a result, there is the risk that investors may suffer dilution of their shareholding should they not be permitted to participate in preference right equity or other offerings that we may conduct in the future.
If rights are granted to our shareholders, but the ADR depositary is unable to sell rights corresponding to shares represented by ADSs that are not exercised by, or distributed to, ADS holders, or if the sale of such rights is not lawful or reasonably practicable, the ADR depositary will allow the rights to lapse, in which case ADS holders will receive no value for such rights.
ADS holders may not be able to exercise their right to vote the shares underlying our ADSs.
Holders of ADSs may exercise voting rights with respect to the shares represented by our ADSs only in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement. The deposit agreement provides that, upon receipt of a notice of any meeting of holders of our shares, the depositary will, if we so request, distribute to the ADS holders a notice which shall contain (i) such information as is contained in the notice of the meeting sent by us, (ii) a statement that the ADS holder as of the specified record date shall be entitled to instruct the ADR depositary as to the exercise of voting rights and (iii) a statement as to the manner in which instructions may be given by the holders.
Holders of ADSs may instruct the ADR depositary to vote the shares underlying their ADSs, but only if we ask the ADR depositary to ask for their instructions. Otherwise, ADS holders will not be able to exercise their right to vote, unless they withdraw our shares underlying the ADSs they hold. However, ADS holders may not know about the meeting far enough in advance to withdraw those shares. If we ask for the instructions of ADS holders, the depositary, upon timely notice from us, will notify ADS holders of the upcoming vote and arrange to deliver our voting materials to them. We cannot guarantee ADS holders that they will receive the voting materials in time to ensure that they can instruct the ADR depositary to vote their shares. In addition, the ADR depositary and its agents are not responsible for failing to carry out voting instructions or for the manner of carrying out voting instructions. This means that ADS holders may not be able to exercise their right to vote, and there may be nothing they can do if the shares underlying their ADSs are not voted as requested.
ADS holders may be subject to limitations on the transfer of their ADSs.
ADSs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the ADR depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of ADSs generally when the books of the ADR depositary are closed or if such action is deemed necessary or advisable by the ADR depositary or by us because of any requirement of law or of any government or governmental body or commission or under any provision of the deposit agreement. Moreover, the surrender of ADSs and withdrawal of our shares may be suspended subject to the payment of fees, taxes and similar charges or if we direct the ADR depositary at any time to cease new issuances and withdrawals of our shares during periods specified by us in connection with shareholders meetings, the payment of dividends or as otherwise reasonably necessary for compliance with any applicable laws or government regulations.
Shareholders may not enjoy under Belgian corporate law and our articles of association certain of the rights and protection generally afforded to shareholders of U.S. companies under U.S. federal and state laws and the NYSE rules.
We are a public limited liability company incorporated under the laws of Belgium. The rights provided to our shareholders under Belgian corporate law and our articles of association differ in certain respects from the rights that you would typically enjoy as a shareholder of a U.S. company under applicable U.S. federal and/or state laws. In general, the Belgian Corporate Governance Code is a code of best practice applying to listed companies on a non-binding basis. The Code applies a comply or explain approach, that is, companies may depart from the Codes provisions if they give a reasoned explanation of the reasons for doing so.
We are relying on a provision in the NYSE Listed Company Manual that allows us to follow Belgian corporate law and the Belgian Corporate Governance Code with regard to certain aspects of corporate governance. This allows us to continue following certain corporate governance practices that differ in significant respects from the corporate governance requirements applicable to U.S. companies listed on the NYSE. In particular, the NYSE rules require a majority of the directors of a listed U.S. company to be independent while, in Belgium, only three directors need be independent. Our board currently comprises four independent directors and nine non-independent directors. See Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and EmployeesDirectors and Senior ManagementBoard of Directors. The NYSE rules further require that each of the nominating, compensation and audit committees of a listed U.S. company be comprised entirely of independent directors. However, the Belgian Corporate Governance
Code recommends only that a majority of the directors on each of these committees meet the technical requirements for independence under Belgian corporate law. Since September 2010, all voting members of the Audit Committee have been independent under the NYSE rules and Rule 10A-3 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Our Nomination Committee and Remuneration Committee have members who would not be considered independent under NYSE rules, and therefore our Nomination Committee and Remuneration Committee would not be in compliance with the NYSE Corporate Governance Standards for domestic issuers in respect of independence of these committees. However, both our Nomination Committee and Remuneration Committee are composed exclusively of non-executive directors who are independent of management and whom we consider to be free of any business or other relationship which could materially interfere with the exercise of their independent judgment. See Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and EmployeesC. Board PracticesGeneral Information about Our Committees.
Under Belgian corporate law, other than certain limited information that we must make public, our shareholders may not ask for an inspection of our corporate records, while under Delaware corporate law any shareholder, irrespective of the size of his or her shareholdings, may do so. Shareholders of a Belgian corporation are also unable to initiate a derivative action, a remedy typically available to shareholders of U.S. companies, in order to enforce a right of Anheuser-Busch InBev, in case we fail to enforce such right ourselves, other than in certain cases of director liability under limited circumstances. In addition, a majority of our shareholders may release a director from any claim of liability we may have, including if he or she has acted in bad faith or has breached his or her duty of loyalty, provided, in some cases, that the relevant acts were specifically mentioned in the convening notice to the shareholders meeting deliberating on the discharge. In contrast, most U.S. federal and state laws prohibit a company or its shareholders from releasing a director from liability altogether if he or she has acted in bad faith or has breached his or her duty of loyalty to the company. Finally, Belgian corporate law does not provide any form of appraisal rights in the case of a business combination.
For additional information on these and other aspects of Belgian corporate law and our articles of association, see Item 10. Additional InformationB. Memorandum and Articles of Association and Other Share Information. As a result of these differences between Belgian corporate law and our articles of association, on the one hand, and U.S. federal and state laws, on the other hand, in certain instances, you could receive less protection as a shareholder of our company than you would as a shareholder of a U.S. company.
As a foreign private issuer in the United States, we are exempt from a number of rules under the U.S. securities laws and are permitted to file less information with the SEC.
As a foreign private issuer, we are exempt from certain rules under the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act), that impose certain disclosure obligations and procedural requirements for proxy solicitations under Section 14 of the Exchange Act. In addition, our officers, directors and principal shareholders are exempt from the reporting and short-swing profit recovery provisions under Section 16 of the Exchange Act. Moreover, we are not required to file periodic reports and financial statements with the SEC as frequently or as promptly as U.S. companies whose securities are registered under the Exchange Act. Accordingly, there may be less publicly available information concerning us than there is for U.S. public companies.
It may be difficult for investors outside Belgium to serve process on or enforce foreign judgments against us.
We are a Belgian public limited liability company. Certain of the members of our Board of Directors and Executive Board of Management and certain of the persons named herein are non-residents of the United States. All or a substantial portion of the assets of such non-resident persons and certain of our assets are located outside the United States. As a result, it may not be possible for investors to effect service of process upon such persons or on us or to enforce against them or us a judgment obtained in U.S. courts. Original actions or actions for the enforcement of judgments of U.S. courts relating to the civil liability provisions of the federal or state securities laws of the United States are not directly enforceable in Belgium. The United States and Belgium do not currently have a multilateral or bilateral treaty providing for reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments, other than arbitral awards, in civil and commercial matters. In order for a final judgment for the payment of money rendered by U.S. courts based on civil liability to produce any effect on Belgian soil, it is accordingly required that this judgment be recognized or be declared enforceable by a Belgian court pursuant to the relevant provisions of the 2004 Belgian
Code of Private International Law. Recognition or enforcement does not imply a review of the merits of the case and is irrespective of any reciprocity requirement. A U.S. judgment will, however, not be recognized or declared enforceable in Belgium if it infringes upon one or more of the grounds for refusal which are exhaustively listed in Article 25 of the Belgian Code of Private International Law. In addition to recognition or enforcement, a judgment by a federal or state court in the United States against us may also serve as evidence in a similar action in a Belgian court if it meets the conditions required for the authenticity of judgments according to the law of the state where it was rendered.
Shareholders in jurisdictions with currencies other than the euro face additional investment risk from currency exchange rate fluctuations in connection with their holding of our shares.
Any future payments of dividends on shares will be denominated in euro. The U.S. dollar or other currency equivalent of any dividends paid on our shares or received in connection with any sale of our shares could be adversely affected by the depreciation of the euro against these other currencies.
A. HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMPANY
We are the worlds largest brewing company by volume, and one of the worlds five largest consumer products companies. As a consumer-centric, sales-driven company, we produce, market, distribute and sell a strong, balanced portfolio of well over 200 beer brands. These include global flagship brands Budweiser, Stella Artois and Becks; multi-country brands such as Leffe and Hoegaarden; and many local champions such as Bud Light, Skol, Brahma, Quilmes, Michelob, Harbin, Sedrin, Klinskoye, Sibirskaya Korona, Chernigivske and Jupiler. We also produce and distribute soft drinks, particularly in Latin America.
Our brewing heritage and quality are rooted in brewing traditions that originate from the Den Hoorn brewery in Leuven, Belgium, dating back to 1366, and those of Anheuser & Co. brewery, established in 1852 in St. Louis, U.S.A. As of 31 December 2010, we employed approximately 114,000 people, with operations in 23 countries across the world. Given the breadth of our operations, we are organized along seven business zones or segments: North America, Latin America North, Latin America South, Western Europe, Central & Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific and Global Export & Holding Companies. The first six correspond to specific geographic regions in which our operations are based. As a result, we have a global footprint with a balanced exposure to developed and developing markets and production facilities spread across our six geographic regions.
On 18 November 2008, we completed our combination with Anheuser-Busch, the largest brewer of beer and other malt beverages in the United States. Following completion of the Anheuser-Busch acquisition, we have significant brewing operations within our North America business zone. The North America business zone accounted for 32.5% of our consolidated volumes for the year ended 31 December 2010. Through the Anheuser-Busch acquisition, we acquired non-controlling interests in Grupo Modelo and Tsingtao as well as a number of subsidiaries that conduct various other business operations, including one of the largest theme park operators in the United States, a major manufacturer of aluminum cans and one of the largest recyclers of aluminum cans in the United States by weight. The equity interest in Tsingtao, the theme park operations and a part of the beverage can and lid operations were sold during 2009.
We also have significant exposure to fast-growing emerging markets in Latin America North (which accounted for 30.1% of our consolidated volumes in the year ended 31 December 2010), Asia Pacific (which accounted for 12.6% of our consolidated volumes in the year ended 31 December 2010) and Latin America South (which accounted for 8.5% of our consolidated volumes in the year ended 31 December 2010).
Our 2010 volumes (beer and non-beer) were 399 million hectoliters and our revenue amounted to USD 36.3 billion.
Registration and Main Corporate Details
Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV was incorporated on 2 August 1977 for an unlimited duration under the laws of Belgium under the original name BEMES. It has the legal form of a public limited liability company (naamloze vennootschap/société anonyme). Its registered office is located at Grand-Place/Grote Markt 1, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, and it is registered with the Register of Legal Entities of Brussels under the number 0417.497.106. Our global headquarters are located at Brouwerijplein 1, 3000 Leuven, Belgium (tel.: +32 16 27 61 11). Our agent in the United States is Anheuser-Busch InBev Services LLC, 250 Park Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10177.
We are a publicly traded company, listed on Euronext Brussels under the symbol ABI. ADSs representing rights to receive our ordinary shares trade on the NYSE under the symbol BUD.
History and Development of the Company
Our roots can be traced back to Den Hoorn in Leuven, which began making beer in 1366. In 1717 Sébastien Artois, master brewer of Den Hoorn, took over the brewery and renamed it Sébastien Artois.
In 1987, the two largest breweries in Belgium merged: Brouwerijen Artois NV, located in Leuven, and Brasserie Piedboeuf SA, founded in 1853 and located in Jupille, resulting in the formation of Interbrew SA (Interbrew). Following this merger, Interbrew acquired a number of local breweries in Belgium. By 1991, a second phase of targeted external growth began outside Belgiums borders. The first transaction in this phase took place in Hungary with the acquisition of Borsodi Sorgyar in 1991, followed in 1995 by the acquisition of John Labatt Ltd. in Canada and then in 1999 by a joint venture with SUN Brewing in Russia.
Interbrew operated as a family-owned business until December 2000, the time of its initial public offering on Euronext Brussels.
The last decade has been marked by increasing geographical diversification, seeing Interbrew move into new areas or strengthen its operations in countries or regions in which it had previously acquired a foothold. In 2000, Interbrew acquired Bass Brewers and Whitbread Beer Company in the United Kingdom, and in 2001 it established itself in Germany with the acquisition of Brauerei Diebels GmbH & Co KG. This was followed by the acquisition in 2002 of Brauerei Beck GmbH & Co KG. and of the Gilde Group. In 2002, Interbrew strengthened its position in China by acquiring stakes in the K.K. Brewery and the Zhujiang Brewery. In 2004, Interbrew acquired Spaten-Franziskaner Bräu KGaA.
2004 marked a significant event in our history: the combination of Interbrew and AmBev, a Brazilian company listed (and currently still listed) on the New York Stock Exchange and on the São Paulo Stock Exchange, resulting in the creation of InBev. At the time of the combination, AmBev was the worlds fifth largest brewer, with a significant presence in the Brazilian market, as well as strong positions throughout Latin America. As of 31 December 2010, we had a 74.02% voting interest in AmBev, and a 61.86% economic interest.
In 2003, we also acquired, through AmBev, our initial 50.64% interest in Quilmes Industrial S.A. (Quinsa) as part of the Interbrew-AmBev combination, thereby strengthening our foothold in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Following a series of transactions as a result of which AmBevs equity interest in Quinsa increased to approximately 91%, on 28 December 2007 AmBev launched a voluntary offer to purchase the outstanding shares of Quinsa that were not owned by AmBev or its subsidiaries. On 12 February 2008, when the voluntary offer to purchase expired, AmBevs voting interest in Quinsa increased to 99.56% and its economic interest increased to 99.26%. After continued purchases of shares in 2008 from Quinsas minority shareholders by AmBevs subsidiary, Dunvegan S.A., AmBev increased its voting interest in Quinsa to approximately 99.83% and its economic interest to approximately 99.81%.
During 2010, we conducted a series of corporate restructurings with a view to simplify the legal ownership and the corporate structure of AmBevs subsidiaries controlling our operations in Latin America South. As part of this restructuring, Quinsa was liquidated and Labatt Holding A/S became the direct owner of shares representing 99.99% of the corporate capital and votes in Quilmes International (Bermuda) Ltd., which holds direct or indirect control of our operating subsidiaries in Latin America South. This restructuring had no impact on our Zone structure.
The AmBev and Quinsa transactions allowed InBev to position itself in the Latin American beer market and also to gain a presence in the soft drinks market (as AmBev is PepsiCos largest bottler in the world).
In 2004, InBev acquired the China brewery activities of the Lion Group.
In August 2004, InBev and Sun Trade (International) Ltd. (Sun Trade), the controlling shareholders of Sun Interbrew Ltd. reached an agreement whereby InBev acquired Sun Trades voting and economic interests in Sun Interbrew Ltd. In addition, the existing shareholders agreement between Sun Trade and InBev in relation to Sun Interbrew was terminated. In January 2005, InBev reached an agreement with Alfa-Eco, whereby InBev acquired all
of Alfa-Ecos holding of voting and non-voting shares in Sun Interbrew Ltd. On completion of this transaction and the transaction with Sun Trade, and taking into consideration market purchases, InBev owned 97.3% of the voting shares and 98.8% of the non-voting shares in Sun Interbrew Ltd. which represented, in total, a 98.5% economic interest in Sun Interbrew Ltd. In May 2005, InBev closed its offer to acquire the remaining minority interests in Sun Interbrew Ltd. On completion of the offer, InBev owned a 99.8% economic interest in Sun Interbrew Ltd.
In 2006, InBev acquired Fujian Sedrin Brewery Co. Ltd., the largest brewer in the Fujian province of China, making InBev a major brewer in China, the worlds largest beer market by volume. The acquisition of the Sedrin brand also allowed InBev to strengthen its Chinese products portfolio.
In 2007, Labatt Brewing Company Limited (Labatt) acquired Lakeport Brewing Income Fund in Canada, securing a strong presence for us in the growing value category in Ontario. 2007 also marked the acquisition of Cervejarias Cintra Indústria e Comércio Ltda (Cintra) by AmBev, thereby enabling AmBev to expand production capacity to meet the continuing increase in demand in the beer and soft drink markets in Brazil. The initial transaction did not include the brands and distribution assets of Cintra. In January 2008, AmBev reached an agreement for the purchase of the Cintra brands, and these brands were subsequently sold to the Brazilian brewer Schincariol in May 2008.
In May 2007, InBev announced a long-term joint venture agreement with the RKJ group, a leading beverage group operating in India. As of 1 April 2009, the joint venture vehicle began selling, marketing and distributing Budweiser in India. We expect that the venture will build a meaningful presence in India over time.
In March 2008, InBev reached an agreement with its Chinese partner in the InBev Shiliang (Zhejiang) Brewery to increase InBevs stake in this business to 100%. The deal was approved by the relevant authorities in June 2008. This step enabled InBev to strengthen its position in the Zhejiang province in China.
On 13 July 2008, InBev and Anheuser-Busch announced their agreement to combine the two companies by way of an offer by InBev of USD 70 per share in cash for all outstanding shares of Anheuser-Busch. The total amount of funds necessary to consummate the Anheuser-Busch acquisition was approximately USD 54.8 billion, including the payment of USD 52.5 billion to shareholders of Anheuser-Busch, refinancing certain Anheuser-Busch indebtedness, payment of all transaction charges, fees and expenses and the amount of fees and expenses and accrued but unpaid interest to be paid on Anheuser-Buschs outstanding indebtedness. InBev shareholders approved the Anheuser-Busch acquisition at InBevs extraordinary shareholders meeting on 29 September 2008 and, on 12 November 2008, a majority of Anheuser-Busch shares voted to approve the transaction at a special shareholders meeting of Anheuser-Busch. The Anheuser-Busch acquisition was completed, and the certificate of merger filed, on 18 November 2008. For further details of the Anheuser-Busch acquisition, see Item 10. Additional InformationC. Material Contracts.
In November 2008, InBev agreed to divest the assets of InBev USA LLC as a condition for clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice for our acquisition of Anheuser-Busch. On 13 March 2009, we announced that we had completed the sale of the assets of InBev USA LLC (d/b/a Labatt USA) to an affiliate of KPS Capital Partners, LP. Under the terms of the agreement announced on 23 February 2009, KPS Capital Partners, LP acquired the assets of Labatt USA and an exclusive license, granted by Labatt, (i) to brew Labatt branded beer in the United States or Canada solely for sale for consumption in the United States; (ii) to distribute, market and sell Labatt branded beer for consumption in the United States; and (iii) to use the relevant trademarks and intellectual property to do so. On 11 August 2009, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia gave final approval to the settlement proposed by the U.S. Department of Justice in connection with our acquisition.
Beginning in 2003, Anheuser-Busch participated in a strategic alliance with Tsingtao, one of the largest brewers in China and producer of the Tsingtao brand. Through the Anheuser-Busch acquisition, we acquired Anheuser-Buschs 27% economic ownership interest and a 20% voting interest in Tsingtao. On 30 April 2009, we completed the sale of a 19.9% minority stake in Tsingtao to Asahi Breweries, Ltd. As a result of the transaction, Asahi Breweries, Ltd became Tsingtaos second largest shareholder. Tsingtao Brewery Group remained the largest shareholder in Tsingtao. On 8 May 2009, we announced that we had entered into an agreement with a private investor, Mr. Chen Fashu, to sell our remaining 7% stake in Tsingtao. On 5 June 2009, we announced that the transaction had closed.
On 24 July 2009, we completed the sale of our South Korean subsidiary, Oriental Brewery, to an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. for USD 1.8 billion, which resulted in USD 1.5 billion of cash proceeds and receipt of a USD 0.3 billion note receivable at closing. On 12 March 2010, the note receivable was sold for USD 0.3 billion in cash. Under the terms of the agreement, we will continue our relationship with Oriental Brewery through granting Oriental Brewery exclusive licenses to distribute certain brands in South Korea including Budweiser, Bud Ice and Hoegaarden, and by having an ongoing interest in Oriental Brewery through an agreed earn-out. In addition, we have the right, but not the obligation, to reacquire Oriental Brewery five years after the closing of the transaction based on predetermined financial terms.
On 29 September 2009, we completed the sale of our Tennents Lager brand and associated trading assets in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (part of InBev UK Limited) to C&C Group plc for a total enterprise value of GBP 180 million. Included in the sale were the Glasgow Wellpark Brewery in Scotland, where Tennents Lager is brewed, rights to the Tennents Lager brand itself, Tennents Ales and assets located in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. As part of the agreement, we appointed C&C Group as distributor of certain of our brands in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and C&C Group granted us a license to use the Tennents Super and Tennents Pilsner brands in certain jurisdictions.
On 1 October 2009, we completed the sale of four metal beverage can and lid manufacturing plants from our U.S. metal packaging subsidiary, Metal Container Corporation, to Ball Corporation for approximately USD 577 million. The divested plants were primarily responsible for the production of cans for soft drinks. In connection with this transaction, Ball Corporation entered into a long-term supply agreement to continue to supply us with metal beverage cans and lids from the divested plants and committed, as part of the acquisition agreement, to offer employment to each active employee of the plants.
On 1 December 2009, we completed the sale of our indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, Busch Entertainment Corporation, to an entity established by Blackstone Capital Partners V L.P. for up to USD 2.7 billion. The purchase price was comprised of a cash payment of USD 2.3 billion and a right to participate in Blackstone Capital Partners return on its initial investment, which is capped at USD 400 million.
On 2 December 2009, we completed the sale of our Central European operations to CVC Capital Partners for an enterprise value of USD 2.2 billion, of which USD 1.6 billion was cash, USD 448 million was received as an unsecured deferred payment obligation with a six-year maturity and USD 165 million represents the estimated value to minorities. We also received additional rights to a future payment estimated up to USD 800 million contingent on CVCs return on its initial investments. As a result of the sale, we recorded a capital gain of approximately USD 1.1 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, our operations in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia were sold. CVC Capital Partners agreed to brew and/or distribute Stella Artois, Becks, Löwenbräu, Hoegaarden, Spaten and Leffe in the above countries under license from us. In addition, we have a right of first offer to reacquire the business should CVC Capital Partners decide to sell in the future.
By the end of 2009, we had completed our formal divestiture program resulting from the Anheuser-Busch acquisition, exceeding our target of USD 7 billion, with approximately USD 9.4 billion of asset disposals of which approximately USD 7.4 billion were realized cash proceeds. We may continue to dispose of additional assets or businesses within the normal course of business, and expect to utilize the proceeds, in part, from any such disposals to repay indebtedness incurred to finance the Anheuser-Busch acquisition.
On 20 October 2010, AmBev and Cerveceria Regional S.A. closed a transaction pursuant to which they combined their businesses in Venezuela, with Regional owning an 85% interest and AmBev owning the remaining 15% in the new company, which may be increased to 20% over the next four years. This transaction was not material to us. Additionally, in 2010, we did not make any acquisitions or disposals that were material to us.
On 28 February 2011, we closed a transaction with Dalian Daxue Group Co., Ltd and Kirin (China) Investment Co., Ltd to acquire a 100% equity interest in Liaoning Dalian Daxue Brewery Co., Ltd., which is among the top three breweries in Liaoning province. Daxue brews, markets and distributes major beer brands including Daxue, Xiao Bang and Da Bang which are popular beer brands in the south of Liaoning province, with a total sales volume of over 2 million hl in 2010. This transaction is not material to us.
On 7 March 2011, we entered into an agreement with Henan Weixue Beer Group Co. Ltd to acquire its brands (Weixue and JiGongshan), assets and business, including its Xinyang brewery, Zhengzhou brewery and Gushi Brewery. This transaction is subject to customary approvals under Chinese law and is not material to us.
On 28 March 2011, we agreed to purchase Fulton Street Brewery LLC, also known as Goose Island, a Midwest craft brewer in the United States. Goose Island brews ales, such as 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Honkers Ale, India Pale Ale, Matilda, Pere Jacques, Sofie and a wide variety of seasonal draft only and barrel-aged releases, including Bourbon County Stout, the original bourbon barrel-aged beer. The transaction, subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2011. This transaction is not material to us.
For further details of our principal capital expenditures and divestitures, see Item 5. Operating and Financial ReviewG. Liquidity and Capital ResourcesInvestments and Disposals.
We believe that the following key strengths will drive the realization of our strategic goals and reinforce our competitive position in the marketplace:
Global platform with strong market positions in key markets
We are the worlds largest brewing company and believe we hold leading market positions in 19 markets. We have strong market positions based on strong brands and benefit from scale. We believe this positions us well to deploy significant resources in sales and marketing to build and maintain our brands, achieve attractive sourcing terms, generate cost savings through centralization and produce a lean cost structure. Our global reach provides us with a strong platform to grow our global and multi-country brands, while developing local brands tailored to regional tastes. We benefit from a global distribution network which, depending on the location, is either owned by us or is based on strong partnerships with wholesalers and local distributors.
We believe that in 2010 the approximate industry volumes and our approximate market shares by volume in the worlds six largest beer markets by volume are as follows:
Since the completion of the Anheuser-Busch acquisition and the combination of InBev and Anheuser-Busch, we have been the global leader in the brewing industry by volume and, measured by EBITDA, as defined, for 2010, we are ranked among the top five consumer products companies worldwide. The Anheuser-Busch acquisition significantly enhanced our position in the United States, one of the most stable and profitable beer markets in the world, and in China, the worlds largest beer market by volume. Management believes that it can realize significant upside potential by continuing to roll out Anheuser-Buschs brands using our global distribution platform.
Our geographically diversified platform balances the growth opportunities of emerging markets with the stability and strength of mature markets. With significant operations in both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres, we benefit from a natural hedge against market, economic and seasonal volatility.
The Anheuser-Busch acquisition has enhanced our geographic diversity and has provided an even more solid balance between high-growth emerging markets and stable mature markets. Mature markets represented approximately 54% of our 2010 operating profit.
Strong brand portfolio with global, multi-country and local brands
Our strong brand portfolio addresses a broad range of demand for different types of beer and offers a range of international and local brands in our Zones in three brand categories:
Our strategy is to focus our portfolio on premium brands. As a result, we undertake clear brand choices and seek to invest in those brands that build deep connections with consumers and meet their needs. We seek to replicate our successful brand initiatives and best practices across geographic markets.
Strong innovation and brand development capabilities
As a consumer-centric, sales-driven company, we continue to strive to understand the values, lifestyles and preferences of both todays and tomorrows consumers, building fresh appeal and competitive advantage through innovative products and services tailored to meet those needs. We believe that consumer demand can be best anticipated by a close relationship between our innovation and insight teams in which current and expected market trends trigger and drive research processes. Successful examples of recently developed products include Skol 360° (Brazil), Budweiser Select 55 (United States), Stella Artois Black and Bud 66 (United Kingdom), Klinskoye Fresh (Russia), Budweiser Lime (China), and Budweiser 4 (Canada).
We believe that our excellence programs, including our World Class Commercial Program, are one of our competitive advantages. As part of our consumer-centric, sales-driven approach, we have established an integrated marketing and sales execution program, the World Class Commercial Program, which is designed to continuously improve the quality of our sales and marketing capabilities and processes by ensuring they are understood and consistently followed. We believe our World Class Commercial Program in sales contributed to the success of our sales practices and we therefore extended this program to our marketing practices. During 2010, this program achieved effective global alignment in our key markets by facilitating shared processes in marketing and sales.
Strict financial discipline
World-class efficiency has been, and remains, a long-term objective for us across all lines of business and markets as well as under all economic circumstances. Avoiding unnecessary costs is a core component of our culture. We distinguish between non-working and working expenses, the latter having a direct impact on sales volumes or revenues. We currently have a greater focus on reducing non-working expenses, given that they are incurred independently from sales volumes or revenues and without immediate benefit to consumers. By maintaining strict financial discipline and turning non-working expenses into working expenses, our CostConnectWin model aims to fund sustainable sales and marketing efforts throughout an economic cycle in order to connect with our customers and win by achieving long-term, profitable growth. We have a number of group-wide cost efficiency programs in place, including:
In addition, we have set up business service centers across our business zones which focus on transactional and support activities within our group. The centers help standardize working practices and identify and disseminate best practices.
We expect the Anheuser-Busch acquisition to generate at least USD 2.25 billion of cost savings from the time of acquisition to the end of 2011. USD 250 million of cost saving synergies were delivered in 2008, USD 1.11 billion in 2009, USD 620 million in 2010, and the balance expected in 2011.
The cost savings fall into four categories:
The estimated cost savings are calculated by comparing the Anheuser-Busch U.S. cost base before the Anheuser-Busch acquisition, corrected for inflation, to the costs of our U.S. operations since the Anheuser-Busch acquisition and the cost forecast for our U.S. operation for the years 2009-2011 (as reflected in our three-year business plan). We perform this comparison by benchmarking activities at a low level of granularity, down to the level of individual cost centers for the current budget year. The synergies figures represent amounts estimated to be achieved by the combined businesses in the relevant period. For 2009 and 2010, we estimated the value of the synergies obtained by comparing the cost base of Anheuser-Busch for the full year 2009 to the full year 2008 and the full year 2010 to the full year 2009, respectively. For 2008, we compared the cost base for the fourth quarter of 2008 to the fourth quarter of 2007. The 2009 and 2010 savings mainly resulted from the implementation of ZBB, with some savings from procurement, manufacturing best practices and other activities in the United Kingdom and China. The 2008 savings mainly resulted from savings triggered by the Blue Ocean program implemented by Anheuser-Busch in anticipation of the acquisition and by some ZBB savings.
In addition to the aforementioned cost synergies, management believes that the Anheuser-Busch acquisition has added and will continue to add substantial value through the exchange of best practices in areas such as sales, distribution, marketing and corporate social responsibility. We believe that the disciplined programs of sales and marketing execution of our group companies can be combined to achieve a best-in-class commercial program. Anheuser-Buschs Blue Ocean program is a cost reduction initiative commenced by Anheuser-Busch prior to the completion of the acquisition, which is aimed at cost savings and process improvements across all areas of that company, including through process benchmarking in Anheuser-Buschs breweries, energy and environmental initiatives to reduce its reliance on natural gas and fuel oil, supply chain savings, improved materials usage, business process redesign using technology to further centralize Anheuser-Buschs brewing control rooms and automation of
its warehouse functions, the implementation of a new early retirement program for salaried Anheuser-Busch employees, reorganizations aimed at enhancing efficiency and effectiveness, reducing overhead growth and achieving widespread reductions in non-salary spending.
Experienced management team with a strong track record of delivering synergies through business combinations
During the last two decades, our management (or the management of our predecessor companies) has executed a number of merger and acquisition transactions of varying sizes, with acquired businesses being successfully integrated into our operations, realizing significant synergies. Notable examples include:
Our strong track record also extends to successfully integrating portfolios of brands such as Spaten-Löwenbräu in 2003 and leveraging cross-selling potential and distribution networks such as the distribution of Stella Artois through AmBevs channels in Latin America.
Our strategy is based on our dream to be the Best Beer Company in a Better World
The guiding principle for our strategy is a dream to be the Best Beer Company in a Better World by uniting strong brand development, sales execution and best-in-class efficiency with the role of a responsible global corporate citizen. The Best Beer Company element relates primarily to our aim of maintaining highly profitable operations in all markets with leading brands and market positions where we operate. The term Better World articulates our belief that all stakeholders will benefit from good corporate citizenship, finding its expression in the concept of responsible enjoyment. We discourage consumers from excessive or underage drinking through marketing campaigns aimed at moderate and legal consumption, as outlined in our Commercial Communications Code.
Four pillars are fundamental to our future strategic positioning
First, we aim to win consumers and secure loyalty through our strong brand portfolio.
Second, we intend to win points of connection with consumers through world-class consumer programs.
Third, we strive to continuously improve efficiency and to continue our strong track record in margin enhancements by unlocking the potential for variable and fixed cost savings.
Finally, building on the successful integration of Anheuser-Busch and InBev, we seek to continue to drive external growth opportunities through selected acquisitions.
General factors facilitate the implementation of our corporate strategy
We have identified certain key tools which we believe will enable us to implement our corporate strategy, including:
2. PRINCIPAL ACTIVITIES AND PRODUCTS
We produce, market, distribute and sell a strong, balanced portfolio of well over 200 beer brands and have a global footprint with a balanced exposure to developed and developing markets and production facilities spread across our six geographic regions.
We are a consumer-centric, sales-driven company. Consequently, our production facilities and other assets are predominantly located in the same geographical areas as our customers. We set up local production when we believe that there is substantial potential for local sales that cannot be addressed in a cost efficient manner through exports or third-party distribution into the relevant country. Local production also helps us to reduce, although it does not eliminate, our exposure to currency movements.
The table below sets out the main brands we sell in the markets listed below.
The table below sets out our sales broken down by business zone for the periods shown:
For a discussion of changes in revenue, see Item 5. Operating and Financial ReviewE. Results of OperationsYear Ended 31 December 2010 Compared to Year Ended 31 December 2009Revenue and Item 5. Operating and Financial ReviewE. Results of OperationsYear Ended 31 December 2009 Compared to Year Ended 31 December 2008Revenue.
The table below sets out the breakdown between our beer and non-beer volumes and revenue. Based on our actual historical financial information for these periods, our non-beer activities accounted for 11.5% of consolidated volumes in 2010, 10.8% of consolidated volumes in 2009 and 15.1% of consolidated volumes in 2008. In terms of revenue, our non-beer activities generated 10.1% of consolidated revenue in 2010, compared to 12.3% in 2009 and 8.3% in 2008 based on our actual historical financial information for these periods.
We manage a portfolio of well over 200 brands of beer. In terms of distribution, our beer portfolio is divided into global, multi-country and local brands. Our brands are our foundation and the cornerstone of our relationships with consumers. We invest in our brands to create a long-term, sustainable and competitive advantage, by meeting the various needs and expectations of consumers around the world and by developing leading brand positions around the globe.
On the basis of quality and price, beer can be differentiated into the following categories:
Our brands are situated across all these categories. For instance, a global brand like Stella Artois generally targets the premium category across the globe, while a local brand like Lakeport targets the value category in Canada. We have a particular focus on the premium and core (mainstream) categories, but will be present in the value segment if the country so requires or following an acquisition (for example the acquisition of the value brand Lakeport in Ontario, Canada).
We make clear category choices and, within those categories, clear brand choices. Examples of these choices include the focus on the mainstream Quilmes brand in Argentina, on the mainstream category in Brazil, on the value, light and premium categories in Canada, on premium and core brands in Russia and on the international premium, domestic premium and core categories in China. The majority of our resources are directed to our focus brands, those that we believe have the greatest growth potential in their relevant consumer categories. In 2010, our focus brands accounted for approximately two-thirds of our beer volume.
In lower disposable income markets (for example, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine and China), the value category can be substantial and growing. As set out above, in such cases we generally intend to ensure that we also address the demand for value brands.
From the early 2000s through 2007, we observed a trend where the premium category drove growth in the beer industry. Based on this trend, we established a strategy to select focus brands in certain markets (such as our North America, Western Europe and Central & Eastern Europe business zones) within the premium rather than the
value category. Due to the slowdown in the global economy in 2008 and 2009, however, certain countries in these zones experienced a shift from premium to core brands and from core to value brands. We believe we are well placed to deal with short-term trend changes from a portfolio perspective, particularly in key countries like the United States, while continuing our long-standing strategy of accelerating growth in the core and premium beer categories. Our own United States business saw positive mix change in 2010. We believe that the premium category will resume its previous momentum and aim to continue our strategy of focusing on selected brands, which seeks to address consumers desire to trade up from value to core and from core to premium.
Another trend is the growing need for consumer choice. Again, with our strong brand portfolio and best practice sharing, we believe we are well-placed to take advantage of this opportunity.
Our portfolio includes three global beers with worldwide distribution:
In addition, we have a multi-country portfolio of brands, which increasingly transcend the distinction between global and local. The key multi-country brands include:
More locally, we manage numerous well-known local champions, which form the foundation of our business. The portfolio of local brands includes:
Central & Eastern Europe
The branding and marketing of our global brands, Stella Artois, Becks and Budweiser, is managed centrally within our group. Multi-country brands are managed with more flexibility at the local level for branding and marketing, while the marketing and branding of our local brands is generally managed at a local level. See B. Business Overview9. Branding and Marketing for more information on brand positioning, branding and marketing.
In certain markets, we also distribute products of other brewers.
While our core business is beer, we also have a presence in the soft drink market in Latin America through our subsidiary AmBev and in the United States through Anheuser-Busch. Soft drinks include both carbonated soft and non-carbonated soft drinks.
Our soft drinks business includes both our own production and agreements with PepsiCo related to bottling and distribution. AmBev is PepsiCos largest bottler in the world. Major brands that are distributed under these agreements are Pepsi, 7UP and Gatorade. AmBev has long-term agreements with PepsiCo whereby AmBev has the exclusive right to bottle, sell and distribute certain brands of PepsiCos portfolio of carbonated soft drinks in Brazil. The agreements will expire on 31 December 2017 and are automatically extended for additional ten-year terms unless terminated prior to the expiration date by written notice by either party at least two years prior to the expiration of their term or on account of other events, such as a change of control or insolvency of, or failure to comply with material terms or meet material commitments by, our relevant subsidiary. AmBev also has agreements with PepsiCo to bottle, sell, distribute and market some of its brands in the Dominican Republic and in some regions of Peru, including the north and the Lima regions. Through our Latin America South operations, AmBev is also PepsiCos bottler for Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay.
Apart from the bottling and distribution agreements with PepsiCo, AmBev also produces, sells and distributes its own soft drinks. Its main carbonated soft drinks brand is Guaraná Antarctica.
In the United States, Anheuser-Busch also produces non-alcoholic malt beverage products, including ODouls and ODouls Amber, energy drinks and related products. On a limited basis, we have also entered into arrangements under which other non-alcoholic products and spirits, including Hansen energy drinks (such as Monster Energy), are distributed and sold in select markets though the Anheuser-Busch distribution network.
On 1 December 2009, we completed the sale of our indirect subsidiary, Busch Entertainment Corporation, to an entity established by Blackstone Capital Partners V L.P. Busch Entertainment Corporation was the second largest theme park operator in the United States and owned and operated ten theme parks in the United States. These included SeaWorld theme parks in Orlando, Florida, San Antonio, Texas and San Diego, California; Busch Gardens theme parks in Tampa, Florida and Williamsburg, Virginia; the Aquatica and Discovery Cove parks in Orlando, Florida; Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania; and water parks in Tampa, Florida and Williamsburg, Virginia. See A. History and Development of the CompanyHistory and Development of the Company for further information.
In the United States, our indirect subsidiary, Metal Container Corporation, manufactures beverage cans at eight plants and beverage can lids at three plants for sale to our Anheuser-Busch beer operations and U.S. soft drink customers. Anheuser-Busch also owns a recycling business, which buys and sells used beverage containers and recycles aluminum and plastic containers; a manufacturer of crown liner materials for sale to our North American beer operations; and a glass manufacturing plant which manufactures glass bottles for use by our North American beer operations.
The packaging industry is highly competitive. Metal Container Corporations competitors include Ball Corporation, Rexam Corporation, and Crown Holdings. In addition, the can industry faces competition from other beverage containers, such as glass and plastic bottles.
On 1 October 2009, we completed the sale of four metal beverage can and lid manufacturing plants of Metal Container Corporation to Ball Corporation. See A. History and Development of the CompanyHistory and Development of the Company for further information.
3. MAIN MARKETS
We are a global brewer, with sales in over 120 countries across the globe.
The last two decades have been characterized by rapid growth in fast-growing emerging markets, notably in regions in Latin America North, Central & Eastern Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America South, where we have significant sales. The table below sets out our volumes broken down by business zone for the periods shown:
On an individual country basis, our ten largest markets by volume during the year ended 31 December 2010 were the United States, Brazil, China, Argentina, Russia, Germany, Canada, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and Belgium. Each market has its own dynamics and customer preferences and values. Given the breadth of our portfolio, we believe we are well placed and can launch, relaunch, market and ultimately sell the beer that best addresses consumer choice in the various categories (premium, mainstream and value) in a given market.
Our marketing approach is supported by three solid pillars: brands, connections and renovation/innovation. We are committed to innovation generated from consumer insights. Through this approach, we seek to understand the values, lifestyles and preferences of todays and tomorrows consumers, with a view to building fresh appeal and competitive advantage through innovative products and services tailored to meet those needs. We have advanced our ability to deliver these innovative products and tailored services through globally deployed tools like Demand Landscape from our Nielsen and Cambridge partners. See B. Business Overview10. Intellectual Property; Research & Development for further information.
Historically, brewing was a local industry with only a few players having a substantial international presence. Larger brewing companies often obtained an international footprint through direct exports, licensing agreements and joint venture arrangements. However, the last couple of decades have seen a transformation of the industry, with a prolonged period of consolidation. This trend started within the more established beer markets of Western Europe and North America, and took the form of larger businesses being formed through merger and acquisition activity within national markets. More recently, consolidation has also taken place within emerging markets. Over the last decade, the global consolidation process has accelerated, with brewing groups making
significant acquisitions outside of their domestic markets and increasingly looking to purchase other regional brewing organizations. Recent examples of this trend include SABMillers acquisition of Bavaria in 2005, and the acquisition of Scottish & Newcastle by Carlsberg and Heineken in 2008 and Heinekens acquisition of FEMSA Cerveza in April 2010. As a result of this consolidation process, the absolute and relative size of the worlds largest brewers has increased substantially. Therefore, todays leading international brewers have significantly more diversified operations and have established leading positions in a number of international markets.
We have participated in this consolidation trend, and have grown our international footprint through a series of mergers and acquisitions described in A. History and Development of the CompanyHistory and Development of the Company, which include:
The ten largest brewers in the world in 2009 in terms of volume were as set out in the table below.
In each of our regional markets, we compete against a mixture of national, regional, local and imported beer brands. In Latin America, we compete mainly with local players and local beer brands. In North America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific, we compete primarily with large leading international or regional brewers and international or regional brands.
5. WEATHER AND SEASONALITY
For information on how weather affects consumption of our products and the seasonality of our business, see Item 5. Operating and Financial ReviewA. Key Factors Affecting Results of OperationsWeather and Seasonality.
The basic brewing process for most beers is straightforward, but significant know-how is involved in quality and cost control. The most important stages are brewing and fermentation, followed by maturation, filtering and packaging. Although malted barley (malt) is the primary ingredient, other grains such as unmalted barley, corn, rice or wheat are sometimes added to produce different beer flavors. The proportion and choice of other raw materials varies according to regional taste preferences and the type of beer.
The first step in the brewing process is making wort by mixing malt with warm water and then gradually heating it to around 75°C in large mash tuns to dissolve the starch and transform it into a mixture, called mash, of maltose and other sugars. The spent grains are filtered out and the liquid, now called wort, is boiled. Hops are added at this point to give a special bitter taste and aroma to the beer, and help preserve it. The wort is boiled for one to two hours to sterilize and concentrate it, and extract the flavor from the hops. Cooling follows, using a heat exchanger. The hopped wort is saturated with air or oxygen, essential for the growth of the yeast in the next stage.
Yeast is a micro-organism that turns the sugar in the wort into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This process of fermentation takes five to eleven days, after which the wort has finally become beer. Different types of beer are made using different strains of yeast and wort compositions. In some yeast varieties, the cells rise to the top at the end of fermentation. Ales and wheat beers are brewed in this way. Lagers are made using yeast cells that settle to the bottom. Some special Belgian beers, called lambic or gueuze, use yet another method where fermentation relies on spontaneous action by airborne yeasts.
During the maturation process the liquid clarifies as yeast and other particles settle. Further filtering gives the beer more clarity. Maturation varies by type of beer and can take as long as three weeks. Then the beer is ready for packaging in kegs, cans or bottles.
Raw Materials and Packaging
The main raw materials used in our beer production are malted barley, corn grits, corn syrup, rice, hops, and water. For non-beer production (mainly carbonated soft drinks) the main ingredients are flavored concentrate, fruit concentrate, sugar or sweetener and water. In addition to these inputs into our products, delivery of our products to consumers requires extensive use of packaging materials such as glass or PET bottles, aluminum or steel cans and kegs, labels, bottle caps, soda ash, plastic crates, metal closures, plastic closures, folding cartons, preforms and cardboard products.
We use only our own proprietary yeast, which we grow in our facilities. In some regions, we import hops to obtain adequate quality and appropriate variety. We purchase these ingredients through the open market and through contracts with suppliers. We also purchase barley and process it to meet our malt requirements at our malting plants.
Prices and sources of raw materials are determined by, among other factors:
We are reducing the number of our suppliers in each region to develop closer relationships that allow for lower prices and better service, while at the same time ensuring that we are not entirely dependent on a single supplier. We hedge some of our commodities contracts on the financial markets and some of our malt requirements
are purchased on the spot market. See Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market RiskMarket Risk, Hedging and Financial Instruments and note 29 to our audited financial information as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010, for further details on commodities hedging.
We have supply contracts with respect to most packaging materials as well as our own production capacity as outlined below in Production Facilities. The choice of packaging materials varies by cost and availability in different regions, as well as consumer preferences and the image of each brand. We also use aluminum cansheet for the production of beverage cans and lids. For details of our U.S. packaging business, see B. Business Overview2. Principal Activities and ProductsU.S. Packaging.
Hops, PET resin, soda ash for our own glass plant andto some extentcans are mainly sourced globally. Malt, adjuncts (such as unmalted grains or fruit), sugar, steel, cans, labels, metal closures, plastic closures, preforms and folding cartons are sourced regionally. Electricity is sourced nationally, while water is sourced locally, for example, from municipal water systems and private wells.
We use natural gas and fuel oil as our primary fuel materials, and we believe adequate supplies of fuel and electricity are available for the conduct of our business. The energy commodity markets have experienced, and can be expected to continue to experience, significant price volatility. We manage our energy costs using various methods including supply contracts, hedging techniques, and fuel switching.
Our production facilities are spread across our six geographic regions, giving us a balanced geographical footprint in terms of production and allowing us to efficiently meet customer demand across the globe. We manage our production capacity across our geographic regions, countries and plants. We typically own our production facilities free of any major encumbrances. We also lease a number of warehouses and other commercial buildings from third parties.
Beverage Production Facilities
Our beverage production facilities comprised 133 breweries and/or soft drink plants as of 31 December 2010 spread across our six geographic regions. Of these 133 plants, 103 produced only beer, 12 produced only soft drinks and 18 produced both beer and soft drinks. Except in limited cases (for example, our Hoegaarden brewery in Belgium), our breweries are not dedicated to one single brand of beer. This allows us to allocate production capacity efficiently within our group.
The table below sets out, for each of our geographic zones in 2010, the number of our beverage production plants (breweries and/or soft drink plants) as well as the plants overall capacity and production volumes.
Non-Beverage Production Facilities
Our beverage production plants are supplemented and supported by a number of plants and other facilities that produce raw materials and packaging materials for our beverages. The table below provides additional detail on these facilities as of 31 December 2010.
In addition to production facilities, we also maintain a geographical footprint in key markets through sales offices and distribution centers. Such offices and centers are opened as needs in the various markets arise.
We continually assess whether our production footprint is adequate in view of existing or potential customer demand. Footprint optimization by adding new plants to our portfolio not only allows us to boost production capacity, but the strategic location often also reduces distribution time so that our products reach consumers rapidly and efficiently. Conversely, footprint optimization can lead to the divesting of plants through sales to third parties, or to plant closures.
Additional production facilities can be acquired from third parties or through greenfield investments in new projects. For example, in 2010, we announced the construction of a new brewery in the Sichuan province of China. Its location should help sustain demand for our national brands (Budweiser and Harbin) in southwest China and yield improved logistics savings in China. The brewery will be operational by mid-2011. In April 2009, our Angarsk brewery, constructed at a cost of USD 244 million, opened in Angarsk, Russia. The brewery has an annual capacity of 1.8 million hectoliters and produces brands including Sibirskaya Korona, Klinskoye, Tolstiak and Zolotaya
Angara. Similarly, in March 2007, we set up a new greenfield brewery in Foshan in the Guangdong province of China. The brewery started trial brewing in November 2008, and formal production started in March 2009. The brewery, constructed at a cost of USD 78 million and with an annual capacity of 2.0 million hectoliters, will support our Budweiser sales in the Southeast part of China. In Sete Lagoas (Nova Minas), Brazil, a new plant constructed at a cost of USD 88 million entered into operation in June 2009. The plant, with an annual capacity of 2.1 million hectoliters, is currently brewing beer and will later produce soft drinks as well. The plant currently brews the Brahma, Skol, Antarctica and Bohemia brands of beer, which are sold in glass bottles. An additional USD 12.7 million was invested to add a canning line to package the Brahma, Skol and Antarctica beer brands in cans. In addition to building or acquiring additional facilities, we also upgraded our existing facilities and expanded capacity.
In 2011, we expect to invest in new capacity projects in China and Brazil to meet our future demand expectations in these countries. Our capital expenditures are primarily funded through cash from operating activities and are for production facilities, logistics, improving administrative capabilities, hardware and software in our operational zones, and investments in growth regions such as Brazil and China. An example of using capital expenditures to sustain growth is the announced greenfield in Pernambuco state. Following an increased demand for our products in the northeast of Brazil, a decision was made to construct a greenfield due to open in 2011 to support our activities and growth in the region.
We also outsource, to a limited extent, the production of items which we are unable to produce in our own production network (for example, due to a lack of capacity during seasonal peaks) or for which we do not yet want to invest in new production facilities (for example, to launch a new product without incurring the associated full start-up costs). Such outsourcing mainly relates to secondary repackaging materials that we cannot practicably produce on our own, in which case our products are sent to external companies for repackaging (for example, gift packs with different types of beers).
Our logistics organization is composed of (i) a first tier, which comprises all inbound flows into the plants of raw materials and packaging materials and all the outbound flows from the plants into the second drop point in the chain (for example, distribution centers, warehouses or wholesalers) and (ii) a second tier, which comprises all distribution flows from the second drop point into the customer delivery tier (for example, pubs or retailers).
Transportation is mainly outsourced to third-party contractors, although we do own a small fleet of vehicles in certain countries.
Each of our breweries has a warehouse which is attached to its production facilities. In places where our warehouse capacity is limited, external warehouses are rented. We strive to centralize fixed costs, which has resulted in some plants sharing warehouse and other facilities with each other.
Where it has been implemented, the VPO program has had a direct impact on our logistics organization, for example, in respect of scheduling, warehouse productivity and loss prevention actions.
7. DISTRIBUTION OF PRODUCTS
We depend on effective distribution networks to deliver products to our customers. We review our priority markets for distribution and licensing agreements on an annual basis. The focus markets will typically be markets with an interesting premium category and with sound and strong partners (brewers and/or importers). Based on these criteria, focus markets are then chosen.
In addition, the distribution of beer varies from country to country and from region to region. The nature of distribution reflects consumption patterns and market structure, geographical density of customers, local regulation, the structure of the local retail sector, scale considerations, market share, expected added-value and capital returns, and the existence of third-party wholesalers or distributors. In some markets brewers distribute directly to customers (for example, in Belgium), while in other markets wholesalers may, for legal reasons (for example, in certain U.S. states and Canada where there may be legal constraints on the ability of a beer manufacturer to own a wholesaler a
so-called three-tier system), or because of historical market practice (for example, in Russia and Argentina), play an important role in distributing a significant proportion of beer to customers. In some instances, as is currently the case in Brazil, we have acquired third-party distributors to help us self-distribute our products. The products we brew in the United States are sold to approximately 535 wholesalers for resale to retailers. We own 12 of these wholesalers and have ownership stakes in another four of them. The remaining wholesalers are independent businesses. In Mexico, Budweiser, Bud Light and ODouls are imported and distributed by a wholly-owned subsidiary of Grupo Modelo. Under the distribution agreement with Grupo Modelo, it has exclusive distribution rights to those brands in all of Mexico. In return it agrees not to sell Budweiser, Bud Light and ODouls outside of Mexico, and not to sell in Mexico any other beer that is brewed outside of Mexico without our consent. In certain countries, we enter into exclusive importer arrangements and depend on our counterparties to these arrangements to market and distribute our products to points of sale. In certain markets we also distribute the products of other brewers.
We generally distribute our products through (i) direct distribution networks, in which we deliver to points of sale directly, and (ii) indirect distribution networks, in which delivery to points of sale occurs through wholesalers and independent distributors. Indirect distribution networks may be exclusive or non-exclusive and may, in certain business zones, involve use of third-party distribution while we retain the sales function through an agency framework. We seek to fully manage the sales teams in each of our markets. In case of non-exclusive distributorships, we try to encourage best practices through wholesaler excellence programs.
See Item 5. Operating and Financial ReviewA. Key Factors Affecting Results of OperationsDistribution Arrangements for a discussion of the effect of the choice of distribution arrangements on our results of operations.
As a customer-driven organization, we have, regardless of the chosen distribution method, programs for professional relationship building with our customers in all markets. This happens directly, for example, by way of key customer account management, and indirectly by way of wholesaler excellence programs.
We seek to provide media advertising, point-of-sale advertising, and sales promotion programs to promote our brands. Where relevant, we complement national brand strategies with geographic marketing teams focused on delivering relevant programming addressing local interests and opportunities.
In markets where we have no local affiliate, we may choose to enter into license agreements or, alternatively, international distribution agreements, depending on the best strategic fit for each particular market. License agreements entered into by us grant the right to third-party licensees to manufacture, package, sell and market one or several of our brands in a particular assigned territory under strict rules and technical requirements. In the case of international distribution agreements, we produce and package the products ourselves while the third party distributes, markets and sells the brands in the local market.
Stella Artois is licensed to third parties in Algeria, Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, New Zealand, and Romania, while Becks is licensed to third parties in Algeria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Romania, Serbia, and Tunisia.
In Japan, Budweiser is brewed and sold through license and distribution agreements with Kirin Brewery Company, Limited. A licensing agreement allows Guinness Ireland Limited to brew and sell Budweiser and Bud Light in the Republic of Ireland. Budweiser is also brewed under license and sold by brewers in Spain (Sociedad Anonima Damm), India (RKJ Group) and Panama (Heineken). Compañía Cervecerías Unidas, a subsidiary of Compañía Cervecerías Unidas S.A., a leading Chilean brewer, brews and distributes Budweiser under license in Argentina and distributes Budweiser in Chile. In Italy, Budweiser is brewed and packaged by Heineken under a brewing contract agreement. We also sell various brands, including Budweiser and Bud Light, by exporting from our license partners breweries located in Argentina and Spain.
On 24 July 2009, we sold our South Korean subsidiary, Oriental Brewery, to an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. See Item 5. Operating and Financial ReviewG. Liquidity and Capital Resources
Investments and Disposals. Under the terms of the sale agreement, we granted Oriental Brewery exclusive distribution rights over certain brands in South Korea including Budweiser, Bud Ice and Hoegaarden.
On 2 December 2009, we sold our Central European operations to CVC Capital Partners. See Item 5. Operating and Financial ReviewG. Liquidity and Capital ResourcesInvestments and Disposals. CVC Capital Partners agreed to brew and/or distribute, under license from us, Stella Artois, Becks, Löwenbräu, Hoegaarden, Spaten and Leffe in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia. We currently have rights to brew and distribute Staropramen in several countries including Ukraine, Russia, the United States, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
See Item 3. Key InformationD. Risk FactorsRisks Relating to our BusinessWe rely on key third parties, including key suppliers, and the termination or modification of the arrangements with such third parties could negatively affect our business.
We also manufacture and distribute other third-party brands. AmBev, our listed Brazilian subsidiary, and some of our other subsidiaries have entered into agreements with PepsiCo. Pursuant to the agreements between AmBev and PepsiCo, AmBev is PepsiCos largest bottler in the world. Major brands that are distributed under this agreement are Pepsi, 7UP and Gatorade. See B. Business Overview2. Principal Activities and ProductsNon-BeerSoft Drinks for further information in this respect.
9. BRANDING AND MARKETING
Our brands are our foundation, the cornerstone of our relationships with consumers and the key to our long-term success. Our brand portfolio, its enduring bonds with consumers and its partnerships with customers are our most important assets. We invest in our brands to create long-term, sustainable, competitive advantage by seeking to meet the beverage needs of consumers around the world and to develop leading brand positions in every market in which we operate.
Our brand portfolio consists of global flagship brands (Budweiser, Stella Artois and Becks), multi-country brands (Leffe and Hoegaarden) and many local champions (Jupiler, Skol, Quilmes, Bud Light, Sibirskaya Korona and Harbin to name but a few). We believe this global brand portfolio provides us with strong growth and revenue opportunities and, coupled with a powerful range of premium brands, positions us well to meet the needs of consumers in each of the markets in which we compete. For further information about our focus brands, see B. Business Overview2. Principal Activities and ProductsBeer.
We have established a focus brands strategy. Focus brands are those in which we invest the majority of our resources (money, people, and attention). They are a small group of brands which we believe have the most growth potential within each relevant consumer group. These focus brands include our three global brands, key multi-country brands and selected local champions. In 2010, our focus brands accounted for approximately two-thirds of our beer volume.
We seek to constantly strengthen and develop our brand portfolio through enhancement of brand quality, marketing and product innovation. Our marketing team therefore works together closely with our research & development team (see B. Business Overview10. Intellectual Property; Research & Development for further information).
We continually assess consumer needs and values in each geographic market in which we operate with a view to identifying the key characteristics of consumers in each beer category (that is, premium, core and value). This allows us to position our existing brands (or to introduce new brands) in order to address the characteristics of each category.
Our marketing approach is based on a value-based brands approach. A value-based brands proposition is a single, clear, compelling values based reason for consumer preference. We have defined 37 different consumer values (such as ambition, authenticity or friendship) to establish a connection between consumers and our products. The value-based brands approach first involves the determination of consumer portraits, secondly brand attributes
(that is, tangible characteristics of the brand that support the brands positioning) and brand personality (that is, the way the brand would behave as a person) are defined, and finally a positioning statement to help ensure the link between the consumer and the brand is made. Once this link has been established, a particular brand can either be developed (brand innovation) or relaunched (brand renovation or line extension from the existing brand portfolio) to meet the customers needs. We apply zero-based planning principles to yearly budget decisions and for ongoing investment reviews and reallocations. We invest in each brand in line with its local or global strategic priority and, taking into account its local circumstances, seek to maximize profitable and sustainable growth.
We own the rights to our principal brand names and trademarks in perpetuity for the main countries where these brands are currently commercialized.
10. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY; RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
Innovation is one of the key factors enabling us to achieve our strategy. We seek to combine technological know-how with market understanding to develop a healthy innovation pipeline in terms of production process, product and packaging features as well as branding strategy. In addition, as beer markets mature, innovation plays an increasingly important role by providing differentiated products with increased value to consumers.
Our intellectual property portfolio mainly consists of trademarks, patents, registered designs, copyright, know-how and domain names. This intellectual property portfolio is managed by our internal legal department, in collaboration with a selected network of external intellectual property advisors. We place importance on achieving close cooperation between our intellectual property team and our marketing and research & development teams. An internal stage gate process promotes the protection of our intellectual property rights, the swift progress of our innovation projects and the development of products that can be launched and marketed without infringing any third partys intellectual property rights. A project can only move on to the next step of its development after the necessary verifications (for example, availability of trademark, existence of prior technology/earlier patents and freedom to market) have been carried out. This internal process is designed to ensure that financial and other resources are not lost due to oversights in relation to intellectual property protection during the development process.
Our patent portfolio is carefully built to gain a competitive advantage and support our innovation and other intellectual assets. We currently have more than 100 patent families, meaning that more than 100 different technologies are protected by patents. The extent of the protection differs between technologies, as some patents are protected in many jurisdictions, while others are only protected in one or a few jurisdictions. Our patents may relate, for example, to brewing processes, improvements in production of fermented malt-based beverages, treatments for improved beer flavor stability, non-alcoholic beer development, filtration processes, beverage dispensing systems and devices or beer packaging.
We license in limited technology from third parties. We also license out certain of our intellectual property to third parties, for which we receive royalties.
Research & Development
Given our focus on innovation, we place a high value on research and development (R&D). In 2010, we spent USD 184 million (USD 159 million in 2009 and USD 75 million in 2008) in the area of market research and on innovation in the areas of process optimization and product development at our Belgian R&D center and across our zones.
R&D in process optimization is primarily aimed at capacity increase (plant debottlenecking and addressing volume issues, while minimizing capital expenditure), quality improvement and cost efficiency. Newly developed processes, materials and/or equipment are documented in best practices and shared across business zones. Current projects range from malting to bottling of finished products.
R&D in product innovation covers liquid, packaging and draft innovation. Product innovation consists of breakthrough innovation, incremental innovation and renovation (that is, implementation of existing technology). The main goal for the innovation process is to provide consumers with better products and experiences. This includes launching new liquids, new packaging and new draft products that deliver better performance both for the consumer and in terms of financial results, by increasing our competitiveness in the relevant markets. With consumers comparing products and experiences offered across very different beverage categories and with choice increasing, our R&D efforts also require an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of other beverage categories, spotting opportunities for beer and developing consumer solutions (products) that better address consumer needs and deliver better experiences. This requires first understanding consumer emotions and expectations in order to guide our innovation efforts. Sensory experience, premiumization, convenience, sustainability and design are all central to our R&D efforts.
Knowledge management and learning make up an integral part of R&D. We seek to continuously increase our knowledge through collaborations with universities and other industries.
Our R&D team is briefed annually on our business zones priorities and approves concepts which are subsequently prioritized for development. Launch time, depending on complexity and prioritization, usually falls within the next calendar year.
In November 2006, we opened our Global Innovation and Technology Centre in Leuven, Belgium. This state of the art building accommodates the Packaging, Product, Process Development teams and facilities such as Labs, Experimental Brewery and the European Central Lab, which also includes Sensory Analysis.
In addition to our Global Innovation and Technology Centre, we also have Product, Packaging and Process development teams located in each of our six geographic regions focusing on the short-term needs of such regions.
11. REGULATIONS AFFECTING OUR BUSINESS
Our worldwide operations are subject to extensive regulatory requirements regarding, among other things, production, distribution, importation, marketing, promotion, labeling, advertising, labor, pensions and public health, consumer protection and environmental issues. In the United States, federal and state laws regulate most aspects of the brewing, sale, marketing, labeling and wholesaling of our products. At the federal level, the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department oversees the industry, and each state in which we sell or produce products, and some local authorities in jurisdictions in which we sell products, also have regulations that affect the business conducted by us and other brewers and wholesalers. It is our policy to abide by the laws and regulations around the world that apply to us or to our business. We rely on legal and operational compliance programs, as well as local in-house and external counsel, to guide businesses in complying with applicable laws and regulations of the countries in which we operate.
See Item 3. Key InformationD. Risk FactorsRisks Relating to Our BusinessCertain of our operations depend on independent distributors or wholesalers to sell our products, Item 3. Key InformationD. Risk FactorsRisks Relating to Our BusinessNegative publicity may harm our business, Item 3. Key InformationD. Risk FactorsRisks Relating to Our BusinessWe could incur significant costs as a result of compliance with, and/or violations of or liabilities under, various regulations that govern our operations, Item 3. Key InformationD. Risk FactorsRisks Relating to Our BusinessOur operations are subject to environmental regulations, which could expose us to significant compliance costs and litigation relating to environmental issues, Item 3. Key InformationD. Risk FactorsRisks Relating to Our BusinessWe operate a joint venture in Cuba, in which the Government of Cuba is our joint venture partner. Cuba has been identified by the U.S. Department of State as a state sponsor of terrorism and is targeted by broad and comprehensive economic and trade sanctions of the United States. Our operations in Cuba may adversely affect our reputation and the liquidity and value of our securities. and Item 5. Operating and Financial ReviewA. Key Factors Affecting Results of OperationsGovernmental Regulations.
Production, advertising, marketing and sales of alcoholic beverages are subject to various restrictions around the world. These range from a complete prohibition of alcohol in certain countries and cultures through the prohibition of the import of alcohol, to restrictions on the advertising style, media and messages used. In a number
of countries, television is a prohibited medium for advertising alcoholic products, and in other countries, television advertising, while permitted, is carefully regulated. Media restrictions may constrain our brand building potential. Labeling of our products is also regulated in certain markets, varying from health warning labels to importer identification, alcohol strength and other consumer information. Specific warning statements related to the risks of drinking alcoholic products, including beer, have also become prevalent in recent years. Introduction of smoking bans in pubs and restaurants may have negative effects on on-trade consumption (that is, beer purchased for consumption in a pub or restaurant or similar retail establishment), as opposed to off-trade consumption (that is, beer purchased at a retail outlet for consumption at home or another location).
The distribution of our beer products may also be regulated. In certain markets, alcohol may only be sold through licensed outlets, varying from government or state operated monopoly outlets (for example, in the off-trade channel of certain Canadian provinces) to the common system of licensed on-trade outlets (for example, licensed bars and restaurants) which prevails in many countries (for example, in much of the European Union). In the U.S., states operate under a three-tier system of regulation for beer products from brewer to wholesaler to retailer, meaning that, in many cases, we cannot use a direct distribution system but must work with licensed third-party distributors to distribute our products to the points of connection.
In the United States, both federal and state laws generally prohibit us from providing anything of value to retailers, including paying slotting fees or holding ownership interests in retailers. Some states prohibit us from being licensed as a wholesaler for our products. State laws also regulate the interactions among us, our wholesalers and consumers by, for example, limiting merchandise that can be provided to consumers or limiting promotional activities that can be held at retail premises. If we were found to have violated applicable federal or state alcoholic beverage laws, we could be subject to a variety of sanctions, including fines, equitable relief and suspension or permanent revocation of our licenses to brew or sell our products.
Governments in most of the countries in which we operate also establish minimum legal drinking ages, which generally vary from 16 to 21 years, impose minimum prices on beer products or impose other restrictions on sales, which affect demand for our products. Moreover, governments may respond to public pressure to curtail alcohol consumption by raising the legal drinking age, further limiting the number, type or operating hours of retail outlets or expanding retail licensing requirements. We work both independently and together with other brewers and alcohol beverage companies to limit the negative consequences of inappropriate use of alcoholic products and actively promote responsible sales and consumption.
Similarly, we may need to respond to new legislation curtailing soft drink consumption at schools and other government-owned facilities.
We are subject to antitrust and competition laws in the jurisdictions in which we operate and may be subject to regulatory scrutiny in certain of these jurisdictions. See Item 3. Key InformationD. Risk FactorsRisks Relating to Our BusinessWe are exposed to antitrust and competition laws in certain jurisdictions and the risk of changes in such laws or in the interpretation and enforcement of existing antitrust and competition laws.
In many jurisdictions, excise and other indirect duties make up a large proportion of the cost of beer charged to customers. In the United States, for example, the brewing industry is subject to significant taxation. The United States federal government currently levies an excise tax of $18 per barrel (equivalent to 1.1734776 hectoliters) of beer sold for consumption in the United States. All states also levy excise taxes on alcoholic beverages. Proposals have been made to increase the federal excise tax as well as the excise taxes in some states. Recently, Bolivia, Brazil, Russia and Ukraine have all enacted excise tax increases that apply to our products. Rising excise duties can drive up our pricing to the consumer, which in turn could have a negative impact on our results of operations. See Item 3. Key InformationD. Risk FactorsRisks Relating to Our BusinessThe beer and beverage industry may be subject to changes in taxation.
Our products are generally sold in glass or PET bottles or aluminum or steel cans. Legal requirements apply in various jurisdictions in which we operate, requiring that deposits or certain ecotaxes or fees are charged for the sale, marketing and use of certain non-refillable beverage containers. The precise requirements imposed by these measures vary. Other types of beverage container-related deposit, recycling, ecotax and/or extended producer responsibility statutes and regulations also apply in various jurisdictions in which we operate.
We are subject to different environmental legislation and controls in each of the countries in which we operate. Environmental laws in the countries in which we operate are mostly related to (i) the conformity of our operating procedures with environmental standards regarding, among other things, the emission of gas and liquid effluents and (ii) the disposal of one-way (that is, non-returnable) packaging. We believe that the regulatory climate in most countries in which we operate is becoming increasingly strict with respect to environmental issues and expect this trend to continue in the future. Achieving compliance with applicable environmental standards and legislation may require plant modifications and capital expenditure. Laws and regulations may also limit noise levels and the discharge of waste products, as well as impose waste treatment and disposal requirements. Some of the jurisdictions in which we operate have laws and regulations that require polluters or site owners or occupants to clean up contamination.
Our facilities in the United States are subject to federal, state and local environmental protection laws and regulations. We comply with these laws and regulations or are currently taking action to comply with them. Our expenditures in connection with complying with such laws and regulations are not expected to materially affect our earnings or competitive position.
Certain U.S. states and various countries have adopted laws and regulations that require deposits on beverages or establish refillable bottle systems. Such laws generally increase beer prices above the costs of deposit and may result in sales declines. The United States Congress and other states continue to consider similar legislation, the adoption of which would impose higher operating costs on us while depressing sales volume.
The amount of dividends payable to us by our operating subsidiaries is, in certain countries, subject to exchange control restrictions of the respective jurisdictions where those subsidiaries are organized and operate. See also Item 5. Operating and Financial ReviewG. Liquidity and Capital ResourcesTransfers from Subsidiaries.
We maintain comprehensive insurance policies with respect to casualty, property and certain specialized coverage. Our insurance program is mainly divided into two general categories:
We believe we have adequate insurance cover taking into account our market capitalization and our worldwide presence. We further believe that the level of insurance we maintain is appropriate for the risks of our business and is comparable to that maintained by other companies in its industry.
13. SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY MATTERS
Our dream is to be the Best Beer Company in a Better World. In all we do, we strive to ensure that we produce the highest quality products, provide the best consumer experience, and maximize shareholder value by building the strongest competitive and financial position. We aim to use this increasing financial capacity and our global reach to deliver on our Better World commitment. Our Better World actions focus on three key areas responsible drinking, environment, and community.
As a leader in the beer industry, our primary responsibility is to provide the highest-quality products and to encourage consumers to enjoy them responsibly at all times. That means we are adamantly opposed to alcohol abuse in any form, including drunk driving and underage drinking.
We promote responsible drinking and discourage alcohol abuse by informing and educating consumers through focused campaigns and marketing activities that support our position on responsible drinking. These programs include:
To be effective, our responsible drinking initiatives require a significant commitment and we have been investing in these initiatives since 1982. Our push for responsible drinking is a significant component of our Better World initiatives. In 2010, we developed and promoted responsible drinking programs in our 23 key markets, often expanding their reach across the countries where we operate. Where possible, we established partnerships with governments, community organizations, educators and law enforcement agencies, focusing on preventing drunk driving, high-risk drinking and underage-drinking to maximize these efforts.
Beer is a product of natural ingredients, and the stewardship of our natural environmentland, water and airis fundamental to the quality of our brands in the long term. To be a responsible and resource-efficient global brewer, we must continually look for ways to incorporate practices that help us make the most of our raw materials, while also reducing the impact of our packaging and transportation on the environment.
Environmental key performance indicators and targets are fully integrated into our Voyager Plant Optimization (VPO) global management system. It is designed to bring greater efficiency to our brewery operations, generate cost savings and improve environmental management, in accordance with our Environmental Policy and Strategy.
In 2010, we announced global companywide targets on key measures, such as water and energy use, as well as carbon emission reductions, which we will strive to achieve by the end of 2012. Our 2012 targets are:
Beyond operations management, we are also engaged with the international community and local groups to support key environmental initiatives. In February, we became a signatory to the CEO Water Mandate, a public-private initiative of the United Nations Global Compact, which focuses on developing corporate strategies to address global water issues. We were also active participants in the United Nations Environment Programs annual World Environment Day, through which we engaged with many community stakeholders around the world.
Energy conservation has been a strategic focus for us for many years, especially with the unpredictable cost of energy and evolving climate change regulations. Our continued progress is based on the importance we place on sharing best technical and management practices across our operations.
We work with suppliers, wholesalers and procurement companies, as well as packaging experts, to help make decisions that minimize the cost and environmental impact of packaging materials. We use many types of product packaging, from bulk packaging (i.e., beer kegs, crates and pallets), which is almost always returnable and
reusable, to cardboard boxes, glass bottles, aluminum cans and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, which are recyclable. We also continue the light-weighting of packaging to reduce material costs, minimize the use of natural resources, reduce waste and lessen our transportation fuel consumption. We are continually exploring new forms of packaging that meet consumer needs with fewer resources.
Operating ethically is also part of our environmental mission. In January, we adopted a Responsible Sourcing Policy that includes standards on labor issues and business conduct. We are committed to operating ethically and with high integrity, maintaining our commitment to quality, and encouraging similar conduct for our business partners. We are now conducting internal training on the policy, and providing it to our suppliers, as we initiate new contracts or renew existing ones.
We make significant contributions to the well-being of the communities where we do business, around the world. This occurs through the jobs we provide, the salaries and wages we pay, the taxes we contribute to local and national governments, and the community support we provide in the form of donations and volunteer activities. For example, we have been involved in supporting a school in a remote, mountainous region in China, constructing houses in Uruguay and Paraguay, supporting education and economic development programs in Argentina and Russia, and contributing water to victims in disaster stricken areas.
It takes great people to build a great company. Thats why we focus on attracting and retaining the best talent. Our approach is to enhance our peoples skills and potential through education and training, competitive compensation and a culture of ownership that rewards people for taking responsibility and producing results. Our ownership culture unites our people, providing the necessary energy, commitment and alignment needed to pursue our dreamto be the Best Beer Company in a Better World.
Having the right people in the right roles at the right timealigned through a clear goal-setting and rewards processimproves productivity and enables us to continue to invest in our business and strengthen our social responsibility initiatives.
C. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
Our most significant subsidiaries (as at 31 December 2010) are:
For a more comprehensive list of our most important financing and operating subsidiaries see note 36 of our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010.
D. PROPERTY, PLANTS AND EQUIPMENT
For a further discussion of property, plants and equipment, see Item 4. Information on the CompanyB. Business Overview6. Brewing Process; Raw Materials and Packaging; Production Facilities; LogisticsCapacity Expansion, Item 5. Operating and Financial ReviewG. Liquidity and Capital ResourcesCapital Expenditures and Item 5. Operating and Financial ReviewJ. Outlook and Trend Information.
ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW
The following is a review of our financial condition and results of operations as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010, and of the key factors that have affected or are expected to be likely to affect our ongoing and future operations. You should read the following discussion and analysis in conjunction with our audited consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes included elsewhere in this Form 20-F.
Some of the information contained in this discussion, including information with respect to our plans and strategies for our business and our expected sources of financing, contain forward-looking statements that involve risk and uncertainties. You should read Forward-Looking Statements for a discussion of the risks related to those statements. You should also read Item 3. Key InformationD. Risk Factors for a discussion of certain factors that may affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We have prepared our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010 in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board and in conformity with International Financial Reporting Standards as adopted by the European Union (IFRS). The financial information and related discussion and analysis contained in this item are presented in U.S. dollars except as otherwise specified. Unless otherwise specified the financial information analysis in this Form 20-F is based on our actual audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010.
See Presentation of Financial and Other Data for further information on our presentation of financial information.
A. KEY FACTORS AFFECTING RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
We consider acquisitions, divestitures and other structural changes, economic conditions and pricing, consumer preferences, our product mix, raw material and transport prices, the effect of our distribution arrangements, excise taxes, the effect of governmental regulations, foreign currency effects and weather and seasonality to be the key factors influencing the results of our operations. The following sections discuss these key factors.
Acquisitions, Divestitures and Other Structural Changes
We regularly engage in acquisitions, divestitures and investments. We also engage in start-up or termination of activities and may transfer activities between business zones. Such events have had and are expected to continue to have a significant effect on our results of operations and the comparability of period-to-period results. Significant acquisitions, divestitures, investments and transfers of activities between business zones in the years ended 31 December 2010, 2009 and 2008 are described below.
Events in the year ended 31 December 2010 that have scope effects on our results include:
Events in the year ended 31 December 2009 that have scope effects on our results include:
Events in the year ended 31 December 2008 that had scope effects on our results included:
In addition to the acquisitions and divestitures described above, we may acquire, purchase or dispose of further assets or businesses in our normal course of operations. Accordingly, the financial information presented in this Form 20-F may not reflect the scope of our business as it will be conducted in the future.
Economic Conditions and Pricing
General economic conditions in the geographic regions in which we sell our products, such as the level of disposable income, the level of inflation, the rate of economic growth, the rate of unemployment, exchange rates and currency devaluation or revaluation, influence consumer confidence and consumer purchasing power. These factors, in turn, influence the demand for our products in terms of total volumes sold and the price that can be charged. This is particularly true for developing countries in our Latin America North, Latin America South, Central & Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific business zones, which tend to have lower disposable income per capita and may be subject to greater economic volatility than our principal markets in North America and Western Europe. The level of inflation has been particularly significant in our Latin America North, Latin America South and Central & Eastern Europe business zones. For instance, Brazil has periodically experienced extremely high rates of inflation. The annual rates of inflation, as measured by the National Consumer Price Index (Indice Nacional de Preços ao Consumidor), have in the past reached a hyper-inflationary peak of 2,489.1% in 1993. Brazilian inflation, as measured by the same index, was 5.91% in 2010. Similarly, Russia and Argentina have, in the past, experienced periods of hyper-inflation. Due to the decontrol of prices in 1992, retail prices in Russia increased by 2,520% in that year, as measured by the Russian Federal State Statistics Institute. Argentine inflation in 1983 was 4,923.6% according to the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos. As measured by these institutes, in 2010, Russian inflation was 8.7% and Argentine inflation was 10.9%. Consequently, a central element of our strategy for achieving sustained profitable volume growth is our ability to anticipate changes in local economic conditions and their impact on consumer demand in order to achieve the optimal combination of pricing and sales volume.
In addition to affecting demand for our products, the general economic conditions described above may cause consumer preferences to shift between on-trade consumption channels, such as restaurants and cafés, bars, sports and leisure venues and hotels, and off-trade consumption channels, such as traditional grocery stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets and discount stores. Products sold in off-trade consumption channels typically generate higher volumes and lower margins per retail outlet than those sold in on-trade consumption channels, although on-trade consumption channels typically require higher levels of investment. The relative profitability of on-trade and off-trade consumption channels varies depending on various factors, including costs of invested capital and the distribution arrangements in the different countries in which we operate. A shift in consumer preferences towards lower margin products may adversely affect our price realization and profit margins.
We are a consumer products company, and our results of operations largely depend on our ability to respond effectively to shifting consumer preferences. Consumer preferences may shift due to a variety of factors, including changes in demographics, changes in social trends, such as consumer health concerns, product attributes and ingredients, changes in travel, vacation or leisure activity patterns, weather or negative publicity resulting from regulatory action or litigation.
The results of our operations are substantially affected by our ability to build on our strong family of brands by relaunching or reinvigorating existing brands in current markets, launching existing brands in new markets and introducing brand extensions and packaging alternatives for our existing brands, as well as our ability to both acquire and develop innovative local products to respond to changing consumer preferences. Strong, well-recognized brands that attract and retain consumers, for which consumers are willing to pay a premium, are critical to our efforts to maintain and increase market share and benefit from high margins. See Item 4. Information on the CompanyB. Business Overview2. Principal Activities and ProductsBeer for further information regarding our brands.
Raw Material and Transport Prices
We have significant exposure to fluctuations in the prices of raw materials, packaging materials, energy and transport services, each of which may significantly impact our cost of sales or distribution expenses. Increased costs or distribution expenses will reduce our profit margins if we are unable to recover these additional costs from our customers through higher prices (see Economic Conditions and Pricing).
The main raw materials used in our beer production are malted barley, corn grits, corn syrup, rice, hops and water, while those used in our non-beer production are flavored concentrate, fruit concentrate, sugar or sweetener and water. In addition to these inputs into our products, delivery of our products to consumers requires extensive use of packaging materials, such as glass or PET bottles, aluminum or steel cans and kegs, labels, bottle caps, soda ash, plastic crates, metal closures, plastic closures, folding cartons, preforms and cardboard products.
The price and supply of the raw and packaging materials that we use in our operations are determined by, among other factors, the level of crop production (both in the countries in which we are active and elsewhere in the world), weather conditions, export demand and governmental regulations and legislation affecting agriculture and trade. Many of the commodities used in our operations experienced a price recovery in 2010 but did not see peak levels similar to those seen in 2008. The demand for sugar, like in 2009, continued to outstrip supply. Decreased energy prices, especially natural gas, helped to avoid a spike in the price of energy intensive commodities, such as aluminum and glass. We expect that raw material and energy prices will continue to experience price fluctuations. We are exposed to increases in fuel and other energy prices through our direct and indirect distribution networks and production operations. Increases in the prices of our products could affect demand among consumers, and thus, our sales volumes and revenue.
As further discussed under Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market RiskMarket Risk, Hedging and Financial Instruments, we use both fixed-price purchasing contracts and commodity derivatives to minimize our exposure to commodity price volatility when practicable. Use of fixed-price contracts to purchase raw materials comprise about half of our purchase commitments. These contracts generally have a term of one to two years although a small number of contracts have a term of over five years. A portion of these contracts obligate us to make minimum volume of purchases or to purchase fixed quantities. See Item 4. Information on the CompanyB. Business Overview6. Brewing Process; Raw Materials and Packaging; Production Facilities; LogisticsRaw Materials and Packaging for further details regarding our arrangements for sourcing of raw and packaging materials.
We depend on effective distribution networks to deliver our products to our customers. Generally, we distribute our products through (i) direct distribution networks, in which we deliver to points of sale directly, and (ii) indirect distribution networks, in which delivery to points of sale occurs through wholesalers and independent distributors. Indirect distribution networks may be exclusive or non-exclusive and may, in certain business zones, involve use of third-party distribution while we retain the sales function through an agency framework. We use different distribution networks in the markets in which we operate, as appropriate, based on the structure of the local retail sectors, local geographic considerations, scale considerations, regulatory requirements, market share and the expected added-value and capital returns.
Although specific results may vary depending on the relevant distribution arrangement and market, in general, the use of direct distribution networks or indirect distribution networks will have the following effects on our results of operations:
In addition, in certain countries, we enter into exclusive importer arrangements and depend on our counterparties to these arrangements to market and distribute our products to points of sale. To the extent that we rely on counterparties to distribution agreements to distribute our products in particular countries or regions, the results of our operations in those countries and regions will, in turn, be substantially dependent on our counterparties own distribution networks operating effectively.
Taxation on our beer and non-beer products in the countries in which we operate is comprised of different taxes specific to each jurisdiction, such as excise and other indirect taxes. In many jurisdictions, such excise and other indirect taxes make up a large proportion of the cost of beer charged to customers. Increases in excise and other indirect taxes applicable to our products either on an absolute basis or relative to the levels applicable to other beverages tend to adversely affect our revenue or margins, both by reducing overall consumption and by encouraging consumers to switch to lower-taxed categories of beverages. These increases also adversely affect the affordability of our products and our ability to raise prices. For example, see the discussion of taxes in the United States, Brazil, Russia and Ukraine in Item 3. Key InformationD. Risk FactorsRisks Relating to Our BusinessThe beer and beverage industry may be subject to changes in taxation.
Governmental restrictions on beer consumption in the markets in which we operate vary from one country to another, and in some instances, within countries. The most relevant restrictions are:
Please refer to Item 4. Information on the CompanyB. Business Overview11. Regulations Affecting Our Business for a fuller description of the key laws and regulations to which our operations are subject.
Our financial statements presentation and reporting currency is the U.S. dollar. A number of our operating companies have functional currencies (that is, in most cases, the local currency of the respective operating company) other than our reporting currency. Consequently, foreign currency exchange rates have a significant impact on our consolidated financial statements. In particular:
For further details regarding the currencies in which our revenue is realized and the effect of foreign currency fluctuations on our results of operations see F. Impact of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates below.
Weather and Seasonality
Weather conditions directly affect consumption of our products. High temperatures and prolonged periods of warm weather favor increased consumption of our products, while unseasonably cool or wet weather, especially during the spring and summer months, adversely affects our sales volumes and, consequently, our revenue. Accordingly, product sales in all of our business zones are generally higher during the warmer months of the year (which also tend to be periods of increased tourist activity) as well as during major holiday periods.
Consequently, for most countries in the Latin America North and Latin America South business zones (particularly Argentina and most of Brazil), volumes are usually stronger in the fourth quarter due to year-end festivities and the summer season in the Southern Hemisphere, while for countries in North America, Western Europe, Central & Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific business zones, volumes tend to be stronger during the spring and summer seasons in the second and third quarters of each year.
Based on 2010 information, for example, we realized 55% of our total 2010 volume in Western Europe in the second and third quarters, compared to 45% in the first and fourth quarters of the year, whereas in Latin America South, we realized 42% of our sales volume in second and third quarters, compared to 58% in the first and fourth quarters.
Although such sales volume figures are the result of a range of factors in addition to weather and seasonality, they are nevertheless broadly illustrative of the historical trend described above. Since Anheuser-Busch has substantial operations in the United States, the effects of weather conditions and seasonality in the Northern Hemisphere on our results of operations have increased following the Anheuser-Busch acquisition in November 2008. The peak selling periods in the United States are the second and third quarters.
B. SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) has defined a critical accounting policy as a policy for which there is a choice among alternatives available, and for which choosing a legitimate alternative would yield materially different results. We believe that the following are our critical accounting policies. We consider an accounting policy to be critical if it is important to our financial condition and results of operations and requires significant or complex judgments and estimates on the part of our management. For a summary of all of our significant accounting policies, see note 3 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010 included in this Form 20-F.
Although each of our significant accounting policies reflects judgments, assessments or estimates, we believe that the following accounting policies reflect the most critical judgments, estimates and assumptions that are important to our business operations and the understanding of its results: revenue recognition, accounting for business combinations and impairment of goodwill and intangible assets; pension and other post-retirement benefits; share-based compensation; contingencies; deferred and current income taxes; and accounting for derivatives. Although we believe that our judgments, assumptions and estimates are appropriate, actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.
Our products are sold for cash or on credit terms. In relation to the sale of beverages and packaging, we recognize revenue when the significant risks and rewards of ownership have been transferred to the buyer, and no significant uncertainties remain regarding recovery of the consideration due, associated costs or the possible return of goods, and there is no continuing management involvement with the goods. Our sales terms do not allow for a right of return.
Our customers can earn certain incentives, which are treated as deductions from revenue. These incentives primarily include volume-based incentive programs, free beer and cash discounts. In preparing the financial statements, management must make estimates related to the contractual terms, customer performance and sales volume to determine the total amounts recorded as deductions from revenue. Management also considers past results in making such estimates. The actual amounts ultimately paid may be different from our estimates. Such differences are recorded once they have been determined and have historically not been significant.
In many jurisdictions, excise taxes make up a large proportion of the cost of beer charged to our customers. The aggregate deductions from revenue recorded by the Company in relation to these taxes was approximately USD 9.2 billion, USD 8.4 billion, and USD 6.8 billion for the years ended 31 December 2010, 2009 and 2008, respectively.
Accounting for Business Combinations and Impairment of Goodwill and Intangible Assets
We have made acquisitions that included a significant amount of goodwill and other intangible assets, including the acquisition of Anheuser-Busch.
Our acquisition of Anheuser-Busch was accounted for using the purchase method of accounting under IFRS. In 2009, we completed the purchase price allocation in compliance with IFRS 3. IFRS 3 requires the acquirer to retrospectively adjust the provisional amounts recognized at the acquisition date to reflect new information obtained about facts and circumstances that existed as of the acquisition date. These adjustments have been reflected in our adjusted statement of financial position for 2008. The following items summarize the final purchase price allocation with adjustments being retrospectively applied as of 18 November 2008:
We exercise significant judgment in the process of identifying tangible and intangible assets and liabilities, valuing such assets and liabilities and in determining their remaining useful lives. We generally engage third-party valuation firms to assist in valuing the acquired assets and liabilities. The valuation of these assets and liabilities is based on the assumptions and criteria which include, in some cases, estimates of future cash flows discounted at the appropriate rates. The use of different assumptions used for valuation purposes including estimates of future cash flows or discount rates may have resulted in different estimates of value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed. Although we believe that the assumptions applied in the determination are reasonable based on information available at the date of acquisition, actual results may differ from the forecasted amounts and the difference could be material.
We test our goodwill and other long-lived assets for impairment annually or whenever events and circumstances indicate that the undiscounted cash flows estimated to be generated by those assets are less than the carrying amount of those items. Our cash flow estimates are based on historical results adjusted to reflect our best estimate of future market and operating conditions. Our estimates of fair values used to determine the resulting impairment loss, if any, represent our best estimate based on forecasted cash flows, industry trends and reference to market rates and transactions. Impairments can also occur when we decide to dispose of assets.
The key judgments, estimates and assumptions used in the fair-value-less-cost-to-sell calculations are as follows:
The above calculations are corroborated by valuation multiples, quoted share prices for publicly-traded subsidiaries or other available fair value indicators.
Impairment testing of intangible assets with an indefinite useful life is primarily based on a fair value approach using the same methodology as described above or by applying multiples that reflect current market
transactions to indicators that drive the profitability of the asset or the royalty stream that could be obtained from licensing the intangible asset to another party in an arms length transaction.
For additional information on goodwill, intangible assets, tangible assets and impairments, see notes 13, 14, and 15 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010.
Pension and Other Post-Retirement Benefits
We sponsor various post-employment benefit plans worldwide. These include pension plans, both defined contribution plans, and defined benefit plans, and other post-employment benefits. Usually, pension plans are funded by payments made both by us and our employees, taking into account the recommendations of independent actuaries. We maintain funded and unfunded plans.
Defined contribution plans
Contributions to these plans are recognized as expenses in the period in which they are incurred.
Defined benefit plans
For defined benefit plans, liabilities and expenses are assessed separately for each plan using the projected unit credit method. The projected unit credit method takes into account each period of service as giving rise to an additional unit of benefit to measure each unit separately. Under this method, the cost of providing pensions is charged to the income statement during the period of service of the employee. The amounts charged to the income statement consist of current service cost, interest cost, the expected return of any plan assets, past service costs and the effect of any settlements and curtailments.
The net defined benefit plan liability recognized in the statement of financial position is measured as the current value of the estimated future cash outflows using a discount rate equivalent to the bond rates with maturity terms similar to those of the obligation, less any past service cost not yet recognized and the fair value of any plan assets. Past service costs result from the introduction of a new plan or changes to an existing plan. They are recognized in the income statement over the period the benefit vests. Where the calculated amount of a defined benefit plan liability is negative (an asset), we recognize such asset to the extent of any unrecognized past service costs plus any economic benefits available to us either from refunds or reductions in future contributions.
Assumptions used to value defined benefit liabilities are based on actual historical experience, plan demographics, external data regarding compensation and economic trends. While we believe that our assumptions are appropriate, significant differences in our actual experience or significant changes in our assumptions may materially affect our pension obligation and our future expense. Actuarial gains and losses consist of the effects of differences between the previous actuarial assumptions and what has actually occurred and the effects of changes in actuarial assumptions. Actuarial gains and losses are fully recognized in equity. For further information on how changes in these assumptions could change the amounts recognized see the sensitivity analysis within note 25 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010.
A portion of our plan assets is invested in equity securities. The equity markets have experienced volatility, which has affected the value of our pension plan assets. This volatility may make it difficult to estimate the long-term rate of return on plan assets. Actual asset returns that differ from our assumptions are fully recognized in equity.
Other post-employment obligations
We and our subsidiaries provide health care benefits and other benefits to certain retirees. The expected costs of these benefits are recognized over the period of employment, using an accounting methodology similar to that used for defined benefit plans.
We have various types of equity settled share-based compensation schemes for employees. Employee services received, and the corresponding increase in equity, are measured by reference to the fair value of the equity instruments as at the date of grant. Fair value of stock options is estimated by using the binomial Hull model on the date of grant based on certain assumptions. Those assumptions are described in note 26 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010 included in this Form 20-F and include, among others, the dividend yield, expected volatility and expected life of the stock options. The binomial Hull model assumes that all employees would immediately exercise their options if our share price were 2.5 times above the option exercise price. As a consequence, no single expected option life applies, whereas the assumption of the expected volatility has been set by reference to the implied volatility of our shares in the open market and in light of historical patterns of volatility. In the determination of the expected volatility, we excluded the volatility measured during the period 15 July 2008 to 30 April 2009 given the extreme market conditions experienced during that period.
The preparation of our financial statements requires management to make estimates and assumptions regarding contingencies which affect the valuation of assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the revenue and expenses during the reported period.
We disclose material contingent liabilities unless the possibility of any loss arising is considered remote, and material contingent assets where the inflow of economic benefits is probable. We discuss our material contingencies in note 32 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010.
Under IFRS, we record a provision for a loss contingency when it is probable that a future event will confirm that a liability has been incurred at the date of the financial statements, and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated. By their nature, contingencies will only be resolved when one or more future events occur or fail to occur and typically those events will occur over a number of years in the future. The accruals are adjusted as further information becomes available.
As discussed in Item 8. Financial InformationA. Consolidated Financial Statements and Other Financial InformationLegal and Arbitration Proceedings, and in note 32 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010, legal proceedings covering a wide range of matters are pending or threatened in various jurisdictions against us. We record provisions for pending litigation when we determine that an unfavorable outcome is probable and the amount of loss can be reasonably estimated. Due to the inherent uncertain nature of litigation, the ultimate outcome or actual cost of settlement may materially vary from estimates.
Deferred and Current Income Taxes
We recognize deferred tax effects of tax loss carry-forwards and temporary differences between the financial statement carrying amounts and the tax basis of our assets and liabilities. We estimate our income taxes based on regulations in the various jurisdictions where we conduct business. This requires us to estimate our actual current tax exposure and to assess temporary differences that result from different treatment of certain items for tax and accounting purposes. These differences result in deferred tax assets and liabilities, which we record on our consolidated balance sheet. We regularly review the deferred tax assets for recoverability and will only recognize these if we believe that it is probable that there will be sufficient taxable profit against any temporary differences that can be utilized, based on historical taxable income, projected future taxable income, and the expected timing of the reversals of existing temporary differences.
The carrying amount of a deferred tax asset is reviewed at each balance sheet date. We reduce the carrying amount of a deferred tax asset to the extent that it is no longer probable that sufficient taxable profit will be available to allow the benefit of part or all of that deferred tax asset to be utilized. Any such reduction is reversed to the extent
that it becomes probable that sufficient taxable profit will be available. If the final outcome of these matters differs from the amounts initially recorded, differences may positively or negatively impact the income tax and deferred tax provisions in the period in which such determination is made.
Accounting for Derivatives
We enter into exchange contracts, exchange-traded foreign currency futures, interest rate swaps, cross-currency interest rate swaps, forward rate agreements, exchange-traded interest rate futures, aluminum swaps and forwards, exchange-traded sugar futures and exchange-traded wheat futures. Our policy prohibits the use of derivatives in the context of speculative trading.
Derivative financial instruments are recognized initially at fair value. Fair value is the amount for which the asset could be exchanged or a liability settled, between knowledgeable, willing parties in an arms length transaction.
Subsequent to initial recognition, derivative financial instruments are remeasured to fair value at balance sheet date. For derivative financial instruments that qualify for hedge accounting, we apply the following policy: for fair value hedges, changes in fair value are recorded in the income statement and for cash flow and net investment hedges, changes in fair value are recognized in the statement of comprehensive income and/or in the income statement for the effective and/or ineffective portion of the hedge relationship, respectively.
The estimated fair value amounts have been determined by us using available market information and appropriate valuation methodologies. However, considerable judgment is necessarily required in interpreting market data to develop the estimates of fair value. The fair values of financial instruments that are not traded in an active market (for example, unlisted equities, currency options, embedded derivatives and over-the-counter derivatives) are determined using valuation techniques. We use judgment to select an appropriate valuation methodology and underlying assumptions based principally on existing market conditions. Changes in these assumptions may cause the company to recognize impairments or losses in future periods.
Although our intention is to maintain these instruments through maturity, they may be realized at our discretion. Should these instruments be settled only on their respective maturity dates, any effect between the market value and estimated yield curve of the instruments would be eliminated.
C. BUSINESS ZONES
Both from an accounting and managerial perspective, we are organized along seven business units or zones: North America, Latin America North (which includes Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Peru for the year 2010 and Venezuela until October 2010), Latin America South (which includes Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile), Western Europe (which also includes Cuba), Central & Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific and Global Export & Holding Companies. Prior to 2007, Latin America North and Latin America South together constituted one business zoneLatin America. Since the acquisition of Anheuser-Busch in November 2008, the Anheuser-Busch businesses are reported according to their geographic presence in the following zones: the U.S. beer business and Grupo Modelo are reported in zone North America; the U.K. business is reported in zone Western Europe; the Harbin and Budweiser China business and the Tsingtao business, until its disposal in 2009, are reported in zone Asia Pacific; and the Export and Packaging businesses and the Entertainment business until its disposal in 2009 are reported in Global Export & Holding Companies.
The financial performance of each business zone, including the business zones sales volume and revenue, is measured based on our product sales within the countries that comprise that business zone rather than based on products manufactured within that business zone but sold elsewhere. The Global Export & Holding Companies business zone includes our headquarters and the countries in which our products are sold only on an export basis and in which we do not otherwise have any operations or production activities, as well as, as of 2010, certain intra-group transactions, which were previously recorded in the zones, are now recorded in the Global Export & Holding Companies Zone, with no impact at the consolidated level. From 2007 to November 2008, the Global Export & Holding Companies business zone also encompassed the distribution platform established under the Import
Agreement we entered into with Anheuser-Busch, Inc. for the import of our European brands into the United States. As a result, our North America zone during that period was comprised mainly of sales within Canada and the export of our Canadian brands into the U.S. market. Since the Anheuser-Busch acquisition in November 2008, the transactions under the Import Agreement are considered intra-company transactions and imports of our European brands into the United States are reported under the North America zone, which also encompasses Anheuser-Buschs U.S. beer business and Grupo Modelo, in addition to the pre-existing Canadian business. From November 2008, as a result of the Anheuser-Busch acquisition, the Global Export & Holding Companies business zone also included the Export, Entertainment and Packaging businesses of Anheuser-Busch. On 1 October 2009 and 1 December 2009, we completed the sale of four metal beverage can and lid manufacturing plants and our U.S. entertainment business, respectively.
In 2010, North America accounted for 32.5% of our consolidated volumes, Latin America North for 30.1%, Asia Pacific for 12.6%, Latin America South for 8.5%, Western Europe for 8.0%, Central & Eastern Europe for 6.7% and Global Export & Holding Companies for 1.6%. A substantial portion of our operations is carried out through our two largest subsidiaries, Anheuser-Busch (wholly-owned) and AmBev (61.86% owned as of 31 December 2010) and their respective subsidiaries.
Throughout the world, we are primarily active in the beer business. However, we also have non-beer activities (primarily consisting of soft drinks), within certain countries in our Latin America business zones, in particular, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina. Both the beer and non-beer volumes comprise sales of brands that we own or license, third-party brands that we brew or otherwise produce as a subcontractor and third-party products that we sell through our distribution network.
D. EQUITY INVESTMENTS
As of 31 March 2011, we held a 35.3% direct interest in Grupo Modelo, Mexicos largest brewer and producer of the Corona brand, and a 23.25% direct interest in Grupo Modelos operating subsidiary Diblo, S.A. de C.V. (Modelo). Our direct investments in Grupo Modelo and Diblo, S.A. de C.V. give us an approximate (direct and indirect) 50% equity interest in Modelo. We hold nine of 19 positions on Grupo Modelos board of directors (with a controlling shareholders trust holding the other ten positions) and also have membership on the Executive Committee. However, we do not have voting or other effective control of either Diblo or Grupo Modelo and consequently account for our investments using the equity method.
Beginning in 2003, Anheuser-Busch participated in a strategic alliance with Tsingtao, one of the largest brewers in China and producer of the Tsingtao brand. Through the Anheuser-Busch acquisition, we acquired Anheuser-Buschs 27% economic ownership interest, and 20% voting interest, in Tsingtao. Local government authorities held the proxy voting rights for the 7% difference between our voting and economic stakes. Following the Anheuser-Busch acquisition, we announced that we had entered into an agreement with Asahi Breweries, Ltd., whereby Asahi acquired 19.9% of Tsingtao for USD 667 million. The sale closed on 30 April 2009 and the proceeds from the sale were used to repay part of the 2008 Senior Facilities Agreement incurred as a result of the Anheuser-Busch acquisition. On 8 May 2009, we announced that we had entered into an agreement with a private investor, Mr. Chen Fashu, to sell our remaining 7% stake in Tsingtao for USD 235 million. The sale was completed on 5 June 2009.
See note 16 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010 for further details on these equity investments.
Year Ended 31 December 2010 Compared to Year Ended 31 December 2009
Our reported volumes include both beer and non-beer (primarily carbonated soft drinks) volumes. In addition, volumes include not only brands that we own or license, but also third-party brands that we brew or
otherwise produce as a subcontractor and third-party products that we sell through our distribution network, particularly in Western Europe. Volumes sold by the Global Export & Holding Companies businesses are shown separately. Our pro rata share of volumes in Grupo Modelo is not included in the reported volumes.
The table below summarizes the volume evolution by zone.
Our consolidated volumes for the year ended 31 December 2010 decreased 9.7 million hectoliters, or 2.4%, to 398.9 million hectoliters compared to our consolidated volumes for the year ended 31 December 2009.
The results for the year ended 31 December 2010 reflect the performance of our business after the completion of certain acquisitions and disposals we undertook in 2009 and 2010:
Excluding volume changes attributable to the acquisitions and disposals described above and certain changes in consolidation scope in Asia Pacific, our consolidated volumes would have increased by 8.3 million hectoliters, or 2.0%, and our own beer volumes would have increased by 2.1% for the year ended 31 December 2010 compared to our volumes for the year ended 31 December 2009. The increase in volumes results mainly from continued strong performances in certain key brands led by Antarctica, Brahma and Skol in Brazil, Harbin and Budweiser in China, and Budweiser in the United Kingdom. On the same basis, in the year ended 31 December 2010, our non-beer volumes grew by 3.8% compared to our volumes for the year ended 31 December 2009.
In the year ended 31 December 2010, our volumes in North America declined by 5.2 million hectoliters, or 3.8%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2009, impacted in part by a transfer of activities to our Global Export & Holding Companies zone. Excluding this transfer of activities, our total volumes would have declined by 3.1% from 2009 to 2010. Shipment volumes in the United States declined 3.0% with domestic United States beer sales-to-retailers adjusted for the number of selling days decreasing 3.2% in the year ended 31 December 2010
compared to 2009. In the United States, the high levels of unemployment continued to be the main driver of industry volume decline, affecting the sub-premium and premium categories in particular. Full year 2010 market share fell by almost half a percentage point from last year driven mainly by losses in our sub-premium and non-Focus brands where we made a decision to rebalance our brand portfolio.
In Canada, our beer volumes fell 3.9% during the year ended 31 December 2010. Demand across the industry continued to be weak, leading to a second straight year of industry decline, down 1% in 2010, after 10 years of growth. Market share fell in 2010 as compared to 2009 as we continued to focus on balancing volume with profitability.
Latin America North
In the year ended 31 December 2010, our volumes in the Latin America North zone grew by 10.3 million hectoliters, or 9.3%, compared to 2009. Excluding the transaction related to Venezuela described above our total volumes would have increased by 9.6%, with beer volume growth of 10.5% and soft drink growth of 7.3% on the same basis. In Brazil, beer volume grew by 10.7% in 2010 driven by strong industry growth as well as market share gains driven by product and packaging innovations, such as Antartica Sub Zero, the roll-out of 1 Liter packaging and Skol 360.
Latin America South
Latin America South volumes for the year ended 31 December 2010 increased by 0.5 million hectoliters, or 1.6%, compared to 2009. This increase includes volumes from our acquisition of Budweiser distribution rights in Paraguay and a Pepsi bottler in Bolivia in 2009. Excluding the effect of these acquisitions, our total volumes would have increased by 0.7%, as solid growth of our beer operations of 3.9% was partly offset by a 4.2% decline in our non-beer activities as a consequence of industry weakness in Argentina. Beer volumes in Argentina grew 1.7% in 2010 as compared to 2009, reflecting a weak industry performance during the first half of 2010 and improvements in the second half.
Our volumes for the year ended 31 December 2010 declined by 1.5 million hectoliters, or 4.4%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2009. Excluding the disposals of the Tennents Lager brand and associated trading assets described above, our own beer volumes declined 1.6%, while total volumes, including subcontracted volumes, declined 2.5% in the year ended 31 December 2010 compared to 2009. Volume growth in the United Kingdom was offset by volume declines in Germany and Belgium.
In Belgium, our own beer volume fell 4.9% between 2009 and 2010 due to social actions in January 2010, increased competition in the off-trade and the impact of severe winter weather on transport and consumption in the fourth quarter. In Germany, our own beer volumes declined 9.0% in 2010 as compared to 2009, mainly driven by a weak industry performance and a very competitive, price-driven off-trade environment, resulting in market share loss. In the United Kingdom, excluding the disposals described above, our own beer volumes grew 3.4% in the year ended 31 December 2010 compared to 2009, driven by a strong performance by Budweiser with growth in the year of 36.1%. Our United Kingdom business achieved market share gains in both the on-trade and off-trade channels, driven by Budweisers FIFA World Cup sponsorship in addition to continued growth of Becks Vier in the on-trade.
Central & Eastern Europe
Our volumes for the year ended 31 December 2010 declined by 13.4 million hectoliters, or 33.4%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2009. Excluding the disposal of our Central European operations described above, our volumes decreased 0.9% between 2009 and 2010. In Russia, volumes fell 1.7% year on year reflecting industry weakness at the beginning of 2010 following inventory build-up by distributors and retailers in the fourth quarter of 2009 in anticipation of the excise tax increase that took effect in January 2010. Market share gains were achieved behind the launch of Bud in May, and the strong performance of our Focus Brand Kliskoye with growth of 5.3% in 2010. In Ukraine, beer volumes grew by 0.4% for the year ended 31 December 2010
compared to the same period in 2009, following the launch of new national campaigns for our brands Chernigivske and Rogan in the last two months of 2010.
For the year ended 31 December 2010, our volumes declined 2.2 million hectoliters, or 4.2%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2009. Excluding the disposal of Oriental Brewery and changes in consolidation scope in the zone, our volumes in China increased by 6.0% year on year driven by the growth of our Focus brands and the successful launch of Budweiser Lime in major cities across China.
Global Export & Holding Companies
For the year ended 31 December 2010, our Global Export & Holding Companies volume increased 1.8 million hectoliters, or 37% compared to the year ended 31 December 2009, primarily due to a transfer of activities from North America.
Revenue refers to turnover less excise taxes and discounts. See A. Key Factors Affecting Results of OperationsExcise Taxes.
The following table reflects changes in revenue across our business zones for the full year ended 31 December 2010 as compared to our revenue for the full year ended 31 December 2009.
Our consolidated revenue was USD 36,297 million for the year ended 31 December 2010. This represented a decline of 1.3% as compared to our consolidated revenue for the year ended 31 December 2009 of USD 36,758 million. The results for the year ended 31 December 2010 reflect the performance of our business after the completion of certain acquisitions and disposals we undertook in 2009 and 2010 and currency translation effects.
Excluding the effects of the business acquisitions and disposals and the currency translation effects described above, our revenue would have increased 3.4% for the year ended 31 December 2010 compared to the year ended 31 December 2009. Our consolidated revenue for the year ended 31 December 2010 was partly impacted by the developments in volume discussed above. The main business zone contributing to growth in our consolidated revenues was Latin America North, where revenue growth was attributable to favorable currency translation effects, higher volumes in beer and non-beer categories and overall industry growth driven by the robust Brazilian economy. On the same basis, revenue per hectoliter grew reflecting positive momentum, in part due to selective price increases in the latter part of 2010. Such growth was partially offset by geography mix, as Latin America North, Latin America South and Asia Pacific grew faster than zones with higher revenue per hectoliter, and by the excise tax impact in Russia.
Cost of sales
The following table reflects changes in cost of sales across our business zones for the full year ended 31 December 2010 as compared to the full year ended 31 December 2009:
Our consolidated cost of sales was USD 16,151 million for year ended 31 December 2010. This represented a decrease of USD 1,047 million, or 6.1%, compared to our consolidated cost of sales for the year ended 31 December 2009. The results for the year ended 31 December 2010 reflect the performance of our business after the completion of certain acquisitions and disposals we undertook in 2009 and 2010 and currency translation effects.
Excluding the effects of the business acquisitions and disposals and the currency translation effects described above, our cost of sales would have increased by 1.6% as compared to the year ended 31 December 2009 as higher raw material and packaging costs in Latin America North and Latin America South offset procurement savings and best practices implementation in North America and Western Europe. On the same basis, cost of sales per hectoliter decreased primarily as result of geography mix as Latin America North and Asia Pacific grew faster than zones with higher cost of sales per hectoliter.
The discussion below relates to our operating expenses, which equal the sum of our distribution expenses, sales and marketing expenses, administrative expenses and other operating income and expenses (net), for the year ended 31 December 2010 as compared to the year ended 31 December 2009. Our operating expenses do not include exceptional charges, which are reported separately.
Our operating expenses for the year ended 31 December 2010 were USD 8,981 million, representing a decrease of USD 331 million, or 3.6% compared to our operating expenses for the year ended 31 December 2009.
The following table reflects changes in distribution expenses across our business zones for the full year ended 31 December 2010 as compared to the full year ended 31 December 2009:
Our consolidated distribution expenses were USD 2,913 million for the year ended 31 December 2010. This represented an increase of USD 242 million, or 9.1%, as compared to the year ended 31 December 2009. The results for the year ended 31 December 2010 reflect the performance of our business after the completion of certain acquisitions and disposals we undertook in 2009 and 2010 and currency translation effects.
Excluding the effects of the business acquisitions and disposals and the currency translation effects described above, the increase in distribution expenses would have been 9.3% driven by higher transport tariffs in Russia and Ukraine, and higher transportation costs in Brazil and China related to geographic expansion.
Sales and marketing expenses
Marketing expenses include all costs relating to the support and promotion of brands, including operating overhead costs (such as payroll and office costs) of the marketing departments, advertising costs (such as agency fees and media costs), global and local sponsorships, events, surveys, and market research. Sales expenses include all costs relating to the selling of products, including operating costs (such as payroll and office costs) of the sales department and sales force.
The following table reflects changes in sales and marketing expenses across our business zones for the full year ended 31 December 2010 as compared to the full year ended 31 December 2009:
Our consolidated sales and marketing expenses were USD 4,712 million for the year ended 31 December 2010. This represented a decrease of USD 280 million, or 5.6%, as compared to our sales and marketing expenses for the year ended 31 December 2009. The results for the year ended 31 December 2010 reflect the performance of our business after the completion of certain acquisitions and disposals we undertook in 2009 and 2010 and currency translation effects.
Excluding the effects of the business acquisitions and disposals and currency translation described above and the conversion in 2010 of certain sales expenses into discount programs in Western Europe and Asia Pacific, our overall sales and marketing expenses for the year ended 31 December 2010 would have increased 2.0%, resulting from increased investments in our key brands, innovation and sponsoring activities in the early part of 2010 (e.g. FIFA World Cup), including an increase in Central and Eastern Europe to support the launch of Bud in Russia. This increase was offset in part by reductions in overhead expenses, especially in the United States.
The following table reflects changes in administrative expenses across our business zones for the full year ended 31 December 2010 as compared to the full year ended 31 December 2009:
Our consolidated administrative expenses were USD 1,960 million for the year ended 31 December 2010. This represented a decrease of USD 350 million, or 15.2%, as compared to our consolidated administrative expenses for the year ended 31 December 2009. The results for the year ended 31 December 2010 reflect the performance of our business after the completion of certain acquisitions and disposals we undertook in 2009 and 2010 and currency translation effects.
Excluding the effects of the business acquisitions and disposals, and the currency translation effects described above, administrative expenses would have decreased by 13.2% as a result of continued fixed cost savings across our business, and lower accruals for variable compensation as compared to 2009.
Other operating income/(expenses)
The following table reflects changes in other operating income and expenses across our business zones for the full year ended 31 December 2010 as compared to the full year ended 31 December 2009:
The net positive effect of our other operating income and expenses for the year ended 31 December 2010 was USD 604 million. This represented a decrease of USD 57 million, or 8.6%, compared to the year ended 31 December 2009. The results for the year ended 31 December 2010 reflect the performance of our business after the completion of certain acquisitions and disposals we undertook in 2009 and 2010 and currency translation effects.
Excluding the effects of these business acquisitions and disposals and the currency translation effects, other operating income would have decreased 13.4% for the year ended 31 December 2010 as compared to 2009 as the 2009 results were impacted by a curtailment gain in 2009 in North America following the amendment of certain U.S. pensions and post-retirement healthcare benefits as part of the Anheuser-Busch integration. As of 2010, certain intragroup transactions, previously recorded in the Zones, are recorded in the Global Export & Holding Companies Zone, with no impact on consolidated results.
Exceptional items are items which, in our managements judgment, need to be disclosed separately by virtue of their size and incidence in order to obtain a proper understanding of our financial information. We consider these items to be of significance in nature, and accordingly, our management has excluded these items from their segment measures of performance as described in note 8 to our audited consolidated financial statements as of 31 December 2010 and 2009, and for the three years ended 31 December 2010.
For the year ended 31 December 2010, exceptional items consisted of restructuring charges and business and asset disposals. Exceptional items were as follows for the years ended 31 December 2010 and 2009:
Exceptional restructuring charges amounted to USD 252 million for the year ended 31 December 2010 as compared to USD 153 million for 2009. The 2010 charges are primarily related to the continued Anheuser-Busch integration in North America and organizational alignments in Western Europe. In addition, these charges include restructuring and impairment losses related to the closure of the Hamilton Brewery in Canada. These changes aim to eliminate overlap or duplicated processes and activities across functions and zones and are intended to provide us with a lower cost base, a stronger focus on our core activities, quicker decision-making and improvements to efficiency, service and quality.
Business and asset disposal
Business and asset disposals (including impairment losses) amounted to a net charge of USD 16 million for the year ended 31 December 2010 compared to a net benefit of USD 1,541 million for the same period in 2009. For 2010, the balance reflects the net impact resulting from a gain on the settlement of the deferred portion of the sale proceeds from the disposal of Oriental Brewery of USD 50 million and positive adjustments of USD 17 million on accruals and provisions relating to certain divestitures from previous years. This was more than offset by the measurement at fair value of the retained interest in the combination in Venezuela between AmBev and Cerveceria Regional S.A. resulting in a charge of USD 31 million and losses on disposal on certain non-core Anheuser-Busch assets resulting in a net charge of USD 52 million, including a USD 65 million impairment loss. See Item 5.
Operating and Financial ReviewA. Key Factors Affecting Results of OperationsAcquisitions, Divestitures and Other Structural Changes.
Profit from operations
The following table reflects changes in profit from operations across our business zones for the full year ended 31 December 2010 as compared to the full year ended 31 December 2009: