Coronavirus has cost the manufacturer of the Mexican beer, Corona, £132 million, its CEO has admitted.
Anheuser-Busch In Bev, which owns some of the world’s largest alcohol brands, said Corona was facing its worst financial quarter in a decade.
The massive drop in sales - a loss of roughly £132 million - is largely due to falling demand in China, where the global coronavirus outbreak began.
The company had expected a surge in beer sales because of lunar new year celebrations in the country. With fewer people socialising and gathering in public to avoid catching Covid-19, many bars across crisis-hit China have been forced to close.
‘We are not satisfied with these results’
Corona’s losses have forced the company to cut its chief executive’s bonus pay.
CEO Carlos Brito told America’s 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.
"Our performance in 2019 was below our expectations, and we are not satisfied with these results.”
Anheuser-Busch In Bev is not the only company struggling in a tough economic climate brought on by coronavirus.
Last week, the world’s largest producer of spirits, Diageo, warned shareholders that the outbreak could reduce its profits by as much as £200 million this year.
Further afield, budget airlines Lufthansa and EasyJet both announced emergency cost-saving measures after travel fears led many customers to stay home. EasyJet has grounded 13 of its planes and cancelled all flights to and from the Chinese mainland, and sent pilots and aircrews home without pay.
As news of the rise in coronavirus cases spread, the company’s share price fell by 15 per cent in the last week.