IRS records show that the foundation gave the Red Cross' local chapter $300,000 in 2011 vs. $825,000 in 2009.
The H.J. Heinz Foundation donated $2.5 million to charities, according to its most recent annual report to the IRS. Heinz's agreement with 3G Capital and Mr. Buffett requires them to maintain Heinz's charitable giving "in a manner and amount consistent with past practice."
It also specifies that Pittsburgh will remain Heinz's headquarters.
Heinz spokesman Michael Mullen declined to comment on whether the provisions are for a specific period of time. He also declined comment on how the provisions would be enforced if they were violated.
Enforcing them would be difficult, according to Andrew Grumet, a New York attorney who represents charitable organizations. Mr. Grumet has never heard of a case involving an acquirer who was sued for not living up to such promises.
Anheuser-Busch production was declining when 3G Capital's lieutenants arrived in late 2008, a trend that has continued. The company's two top brands, Bud Light and Budweiser, sold 56.4 million barrels last year, down from 64.5 million barrels in 2008, according to Eric Shepard, executive editor of Beer Marketers Insights.
"The industry was down in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and the No. 1 brewer was going to take a hit no matter what," Mr. Shepard said.
Mr. Williams said that while the 3G Capital executives "are brilliant bankers," the jury is still out on their prowess as brew masters. He said a decision to produce Beck's, a German beer, in the United States backfired, angering drinkers who wanted a German-brewed beer.
"Sales trends [for Beck's] have been less than stellar, but they saved a lot of money doing it," Mr. Williams said, adding that the cost cutting has "absolutely not" affected the quality of Anheuser-Busch products.
Beer drinkers who filed a number of lawsuits in federal courts last week disagree. One of the complaints, filed in federal court in Philadelphia, said that after the takeover, the new owners "vigorously implemented" a policy of watering down the beer, "sacrificing the quality products once produced by Anheuser-Busch in order to reduce costs."
In a statement, the brewer said the claims "are completely false" and that it "proudly adhere[s] to the highest standards in brewing."
As for the cost cutting and other initiatives Mr. Brito ordered, the company said the changes have it "better positioned for growth" and "the global footprint of the company has brought new growth and career opportunities."
AB InBev per-share profits have jumped 56 percent since 2009 even though sales rose only 8 percent over that period. Through the end of last year, AB InBev investors had received annual returns of 27 percent since Mr. Brito took over, double the return provided by the S&P 500.
The results leave no doubt about 3G Capital's ability to capitalize on synergies from acquisitions. Whether it can boost sales by persuading more drinkers to buy its products -- be it beer or ketchup -- remains to be seen.
"Their ability to build brands is still an unanswered question," Mr. Shepard said.
Len Boselovic: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1941.
(c)2013 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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