Anheuser-Busch InBev NV confirmed Wednesday it is cutting jobs and consolidating its sales division in the U.S. after the world’s largest brewer posted weak third-quarter results in its largest market.
AB InBev declined to specify how many employees are being laid off. The job cuts affect salaried employees in divisions ranging from marketing and procurement to sales and brewery operations, according to people familiar with the matter. One person estimated hundreds of jobs could be eliminated.
The brewer has about 15,000 employees in the U.S., where sales volumes of key brands like Budweiser and Bud Light have been declining for years. The company reported last month that earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the U.S. fell 2.1% in the first nine months of 2014.
Anheuser-Busch Vice President, People Jim Brickey said in a statement that the layoffs follow a “detailed business review” and reductions “were minimized as much as possible.” He added, “These are always difficult decisions, but are important in evolving our business and improving our competitiveness.”
As part of the review, the company decided to consolidate its sales force. It is reducing the total number of sales regions it covers from eight to seven. The consolidation will be effective Jan. 1.
The cuts at St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch come six years after Belgium’s InBev bought the leading U.S. brewer for $52 billion. Following the acquisition, AB InBev eliminated 1,400 positions in the U.S., about 6% of its workforce before the merger.
By Tripp Mickle