Anheuser-Busch In Bev owns some of the world’s most famous beer brands, including Budweiser, Stella Artois, Beck’s and Corona.
But in the last two months since coronavirus has been spreading throughout China, the company has suffered a $170m (£132m) loss in of earnings in the country, at at time when they were expecting strong sales because of lunar new year.
The losses have forced it to cut its chief executive’s bonus and forecast one of the steepest declines in its quarterly profits.
The company believes the drop in profits is down to fewer people going out in public in China to avoid catching coronavirus. This is taking a toll on nightlife, with many bars and restaurants being forced to close down.
CEO Carlos Brito told CNBC: “Our business is all about going to restaurants, to nightlife, going out with friends, it’s really about to go back to normal, we’re preparing for the surge when things return to normal.
“As we look to the future, we are determined to lead growth through consumer-centricity, operational excellence and innovation.”
Briton added: “Our performance in 2019 was below our expectations, and we are not satisfied with these results.”
The spread of Coronavirus has now reached a “decisive point”, the World Health Organisation chief has said, as he urged governments to take “aggressive” action to prevent it.
“Every country must be ready for its first case, its first cluster, the first evidence of community transmission and for dealing with sustained community transmission. And it must be preparing for all of those scenarios at the same time,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
The news comes in the same week Diageo, the world’s biggest spirits maker, warned the spread of coronavirus would knock as much as £200m off profits this year.
The total number of people infected worldwide by coronavirus has now risen above 80,000 with 2,700 recorded deaths.
So far, 16 patients in the UK have tested positive for the virus and chief medical officers have raised the risk level from low to moderate for the illness, which currently has no known cure or vaccine.