AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, has reported a surprise increase in beer sales in the third quarter, although profits dipped and its interim dividend payment was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona lagers said on Thursday its overall beer and soft drink volumes rose by 1.9% to drive revenues up 4.0%, against consensus expectations of a 4% decline.

EBITDA dipped 0.8%, a milder decline than the average forecast of a 9.3% drop in a company-compiled poll.

In the UK, its Budweiser Brewing Group, reports business grew in value and volume terms in its third quarter.

Paula Lindenberg, president of Budweiser UK&I said its Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona, brand all performed strongly, with penetration growing 40%, representing almost an additional 2m households consuming its beers.

She said Stella was the best performing brand in the on-trade, in terms of like-for-like sales.

The business’ Save Pub Life initiative funnelled £1m into pubs across the country, which has since evolved into a package of support, including access to masks, hand sanitiser and outdoor and take-away options, as well as deals with BT Sport and Opus Energy.