Revenue however, grew for the group, by 3.1% during the quarter and its global brands Corona, Stella Artois and Budweiser collectively grew 5.9%.
Corona grew revenues 22% in Q1, driven by Mexico, Chile, China and the UK, while Budweiser inched 0.6%, held back by softness in the US and China, and Stella Artois declined 2% due to “the timing of shipments in the US”.
The group’s reporting statement read: “In the US, industry volumes grew by 0.7% in the quarter, with our own sales-to-retailers (STRs) down by 0.3%, after adjustment for one extra selling day in 1Q16. Michelob Ultra and our high end brands delivered strong growth, while Bud Light volume trends also improved during the quarter.
“Mexico delivered strong volume growth of 13.0%, driven by good economic fundamentals, our own commercial initiatives, the benefit of an earlier Easter compared to 2015, and a favorable 1Q15 comparable.
“Our beer volumes in Brazil declined by 10.0%, due to a tough comparable, driven mainly by a very challenging macroeconomic environment in comparison to the first quarter last year. This weak start to the year was anticipated, and we are retaining our guidance for net revenues in Brazil to grow by mid to high single digits in the full year. Our beer volume trends in April are particularly encouraging, trending significantly better compared to the first quarter of this year.
“Industry volumes in China remain under pressure, declining by approximately 4% in the quarter. However, our own volumes continue to perform ahead of the industry, declining by 1.1% in the quarter, helped by our focus on the Core Plus, Premium and Super Premium segments.”
The merger with SABMiller is expected to close in the second half of 2016.