Ambev S.A. (NYSE:ABEV) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Feb 28, 2019 • 11:00 am ET

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Ambev S.A. (NYSE:ABEV) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

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Operator
Operator

Good morning, and thank you for waiting. We would like to welcome everyone to Ambev's Fourth Quarter 2018 Results Conference Call. Today with us, we have Mr. Bernardo Paiva, CEO for Ambev and Mr. Fernando Tennenbaum, CFO for -- and Investor Relations Officer.

As a reminder, a slide presentation is available for downloading on our website at ri.ambev.com.br, as well as through the webcast link of this call. We would like to inform you that this event is being recorded and then all participants will be in a listen-only mode during the Company's presentation. After Ambev's remarks are completed, there will be a question-and-answer session, at that time further instructions will be given.

(Operator Instructions)

Before proceeding, let me mention that forward-looking statements are made under the Safe Harbor and -- of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1996. Forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs and assumptions of Ambev's management and on information currently available to the Company. They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions because they relate to the future events and therefore, depend on circumstances that may or may not occur in the future. Investors should understand that general economic conditions, industry conditions and other operating factors could also affect the future results of Ambev, and could cause results to differ materially from those expressed in such forward-looking statements.

I would also like to remind everyone that, as usual, the percentage changes that will be discussed during today's call are both organic and normalized in nature, and unless otherwise stated, percentages changes refer to comparisons with fourth quarter 2017 results. Normalized figures refer to performance measures before exceptional items, which are either income or expenses that do not occur regularly as part of Ambev's normal activities. As normalized figures are non-GAAP measures, the Company discloses the consolidated profit, EPS, EBIT and EBITDA on a fully reported basis on the earnings release.

Now, I would like to turn the conference over to Mr. Fernando Tennenbaum, CFO and Investor Relations officer. Mr. Tennenbaum, you may begin your conference.

Executive
Fernando Mommensohn Tennenbaum

Thank you. Hello, everyone, thank you for joining our 2018 fourth quarter earnings call. I will guide you through our financial highlights of Brazil, CAC, LAS and Canada, including our below-the-line items and cash flow. After that, Bernardo will give more details about our operations in Brazil.

Beginning with the main highlights of our consolidated results. The fourth quarter was marked by different challenges across all regions, though we saw success from many of our initiatives, including innovation and continued premiumization. On a consolidated basis in the fourth quarter, topline was up 5.3%, as volume drop 3.8% was more than offset by the growth in net revenue per hectoliter of 9.4%. In the full year, net revenue was up 6.9%, with volume declining 2.6% and net revenue per hectoliter growing 9.7%.

EBITDA grew organically by 5.3%, reaching BRL7.5 billion, with an EBITDA margin of 46.7%, which organically was flat in relation to fourth quarter 2017. In the full year, EBITDA was up 9.4%