By P.R. Venkat
Anheuser-Busch InBev SA is withdrawing its guidance for 2020, joining the list of many global companies that have done the same, as the extent of the impact caused by the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses and economies remain uncertain.
The pandemic represents unprecedented challenges for societies, governments and businesses across the world, AB InBev Chief Executive Carlos Brito said in a statement late Monday.
Multinational companies around the world, including Ford Motor Co., Marriott International Inc. and Airbus, have also said they are withdrawing their outlook and guidance for 2020 due to the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
Some companies have also been drawing on credit lines and suspending dividend payments, signaling the deep impact the virus is likely to create on companies' financials.
The spread of the virus, which has so far claimed over 14,500 lives and has infected more than 300,000 people, has led to governments around the world imposing tighter border controls and restrictions on travel, and recommending social distancing.
Last week, AB InBev said it was drawing down $9 billion in loan facilities, in addition to more than $7 billion in cash and cash equivalents on the company's balance sheet at the end of 2019.
AB InBev--the world's largest brewer, with brands such as Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra--had said in February that it expects growth in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 2% to 5%, with most of that delivered in the second half.
The company had said then that it lost $170 million in profits during the first two months of 2020.
"We are living in extraordinary times," Mr. Brito said.
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