Creditreform Rating has affirmed the unsolicited corporate issuer rating of Anheuser-Busch InBev N.V./S.A. at BBB+. Creditreform Rating has also affirmed the unsolicited corporate issue rating of the long-term local currency senior unsecured notes issued by Anheuser-Busch N.V./S.A. at BBB+. These issues are included in the list of ECB-eligible marketable assets, which can be found on the ECB's website. The outlook for the ratings has been changed to stable from negative. For more details regarding the ratings, please refer to our press release below.
Creditreform Rating has confirmed the unsolicited corporate issuer rating of Anheuser-Busch InBev N.V./S.A. at BBB+ with negative outlook. After the outbreak of the global economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and a plunge in sales and margins, a raft of countermeasures were introduced, including restriction of capex, reduction of dividend payments, and the arrangement of new financing with a more favorable maturity profile, thus helping the Company to withstand the effects of the crisis. The proceeds from the divestment of its Australian subsidiary and from the issuance of a minority stake for its US-based container operator, contributed significantly to the mobilization of liquidity during the crisis and substantially reduced the Company´s net finance debt. The strategy of enhancing e-commerce distribution and intensified customer-focused marketing campaigns, have allowed the Group to adapt to the new social conditions and to achieve the pre-pandemic levels in 2021 in terms of volumes sold and revenues. However, due to the pandemic-driven changes in the cost structure and overall weakened profitability, the financial metrics have deteriorated slightly compared to their levels before the pandemic. Despite the progress towards a containment of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, its negative economic influence is still persistent and further lock-down measures cannot be ruled out. These effects add uncertainties regarding the path of recovery of the financial metrics to pre-pandemic levels and put a strain on the Company's outlook.
Creditreform Rating has adjusted the unsolicited corporate issuer rating of Anheuser-Busch InBev N.V./S.A. from A- to BBB+. The outlook is negative. The rating adjustment is mainly due to the social and macroeconomic distortions in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to develop dynamically and will lead to a significant decline in sales and earnings in the current fiscal year as well as to a noticeable deterioration of key financial figures. These effects can already be seen in the figures for the current fiscal year. The company's geographical and product-related diversification, its dominant market position as the global market leader in the beer industry, its fundamental earnings and internal financing power, and its established access to the capital market continue to have a positive impact. Due to the ongoing pandemic-related uncertainties and volatility regarding the AB InBev Group's business development, we expect sales and earnings for the fiscal year 2021 and beyond to remain below the results of 2019, which implies an increased risk in view of the high level of debt.
Creditreform Rating has updated the unsolicited corporate rating of Anheuser-Busch InBev N.V./S.A.