Anger over executive bonuses at InBev

Discontent is building against executive bonuses totalling more than 1 billion euros (£836m) at Anheuser-Busch InBev triggered when the brewer cut its huge debt two years ahead of target following the acquisition of the maker of Budweiser.

Executive options were set on how rapidly the world’s biggest brewer could cut debt, and with the target now reached chief executive Carlos Brito is in line for a windfall of more than 100 million euros among 40 AB InBev executives set to benefit from the scheme.

The brewer of Stella Artois and Beck’s reported earlier this month in its annual results that net debt had fallen sharply by the end of 2011 to trigger the options, half of which are due to vest at the start of 2014.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Belgium-based Inbev took over Budweiser brewer Anheuser Busch in late 2008 for $52bn in cash, and then sold off non-core business rapidly and cut costs at the US brewer dramatically to bring its hefty debt down sharp-ly.

The company’s shares slumped as the group tried to conclude the then world’s biggest cash takeover in the midst of a financial crisis following the collapse of Lehman Brothers, but since the deal was concluded in November 2008 the shares have soared.

“Clearly, the Anheuser Busch acquisition has been good for shareholders, but in hindsight the bonuses were set very generously considering the cash generative nature of brewing and the programme of disposals the group had agreed,” said one AB InBev shareholder speaking in Lon- don.

Related topics: