BRUSSELS (AP) — Anheuser-Busch InBev SA said Friday it will shed some 10 percent of its west European work force, cutting hundreds of jobs in Germany and Belgium as beer sales slump.
The world's largest brewer and the maker of Budweiser and Stella Artois employs about 8,000 people in the region. AB InBev spokeswoman Karen Couck would not give a figure for the total number of jobs to be cut.
The company said it told trade unions on Thursday that it would cut up to 386 jobs in Germany and 303 in Belgium — where the creation of 40 new call-center salesman posts would lead to the net loss of 263 jobs. It has 3,000 workers in Germany and 2,700 in Belgium.
AB InBev would not say how many jobs would disappear in Britain, one of its biggest European markets. It said its Dutch operations would lose 42 jobs and another 19 would go in France.
Couck said the brewer was struggling with the "structural decline of the beer market."
Europeans are drinking less in general and turning to wine and spirits when they do drink. In Belgium, the company says beer sales by volume have dropped by 20 percent since 2000.
People are also less likely to drink in bars — choosing to sink back a beer at home or elsewhere — and the company said means it has to change how and where it makes, sells and distributes beer.
AB InBev has moved aggressively to cut costs — mostly in the United States — and pay off debt it built up from InBev's $52 billion takeover of Anheuser-Busch in 2008 which formed the current company.