World Cup full of cheer for Sportingbet and AB InBev

Both internet gambling firm Sportingbet and Stella Artois and Budweiser brewing giant AB InBev yesterday toasted a strong World Cup performance.

Sportingbet said it had performed strongly during the soccer World Cup with margins boosted by a number of results going against the favourites during the competition.

Sportingbet said it had taken over 50m worth of bets during the tournament, of which 65 per cent were made during matches using the company's 'in:play' betting service.

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"The strong World Cup performance underpins the fourth quarter trading results and the board remains confident that the group will meet management expectations for the financial year just ended," Sportingbet said.

A significant number of low scoring games had also favoured the bookmaker as punters tend to back high-scoring results, the company added.

Sportingbet said it had continued to perform in line with management expectations throughout the final quarter of the year.

Meanwhile, InBev saw UK beer volumes rise by almost a fifth between April and June.

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The group, which also sells beers including Beck's, Bass and Boddingtons, said volumes jumped 18.6 per cent in the quarter and 11.4 per cent over the first half, outstripping other European markets.

Budweiser was the official beer of the South African tournament and UK volumes rose more than 70 per cent against the first half of 2009, the company added.

AB InBev also benefited from local World Cup sponsorship deals for several of its other brands including Brahma in Brazil, and Jupiler in Holland and Belgium.

UK president Stuart Macfarlane said the UK had delivered "a fantastic result, even more so in this challenging environment" as better weather and a promotional campaign also increased demand.

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The brewer launched Budweiser across Russia in May – the world's fourth largest beer market – and hopes to use the football tournament as a platform for moves into other markets.

The strong UK showing contrasted with a more sluggish 2.6 per cent rise in own-beer volumes across Western Europe during the second quarter.

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