The Mexican beer Corona is not at all connected to the coronavirus sweeping China.
Corona Extra on Facebook
  • AB InBev, the giant maker of beers such as Castle Lager and Budweiser, says the Covid-19 virus outbreak has hit its sales hard.
  • It lost the equivalent of R4.3 billion worth of sales in China in the first two months, the company estimated on Thursday, and it thinks the earnings impact will be around R2.5 billion.
  • AB InBev also happens to own the Corona brand, which has made it the subject of bad jokes around the novel coronavirus.
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage.


The novel coronavirus behind Covid-19 has already cost it an estimated R4.3 billion worth of sales in China, just in the first two months of 2020, beer maker Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) reported on Thursday.

AB InBev happens to own the Corona beer brand – which seemed to cause some confusion in the early days of the outbreak in January, with searches for terms such as "beer virus" spiking.

Corona, classed as a "super premium" brand, saw strong growth in 2019, AB InBev said in full-year results, "with major contributions from markets such as China and South Africa". In SA, the company recorded its highest-ever market share in the premium beer segment "led by Corona".

AB InBev believes Corona beer is the number one brand in China’s super-premium segment.

See also: Corona, the beer company, says it trusts customers not to link its drinks to the deadly Wuhan coronavirus

But quarantine measures, and other developments related to the virus family named for its crown-like protuberances, will not see a repeat performance in China this year.

"The outbreak has led to a significant decline in demand in China in both on-premise and in-home channels," AB InBev told shareholders.

"Additionally, demand during the Chinese New Year was lower than in previous years as it coincided with the beginning of this outbreak."

It currently estimates the lost revenue at $285 million, or some R4.3 billion, with lost earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (ebitda) of $170 million, the equivalent of around R2.5 billion.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

Receive a daily update on your cellphone with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa: