Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, said its earnings increased by more than expected in the second quarter.

The company got a solid boost from the soccer World Cup on the back of sales of premium lagers in western Europe, Brazil, Mexico and China. 

The Belgium-based company, whose Budweiser brand was a World Cup sponsor, said that revenue and core profit would rise strongly in 2018, with growth accelerating in the rest of the year. 

Revenues from its global brands Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona, higher margin premium lagers in many markets, rose by 10.1% and by 16.7% outside their home markets.

This far outpaced the 4.7% increase for the company as a whole.

The company said its second-quarter core profit (EBTIDA) rose 7% on a like-for-like basis to $5.57 billion, above the average figure in a Reuters poll of $5.49 billion. 

AB InBev delivered a further $199m in synergy gains from its 2016 purchase of SABMiller, but also spent more on advertising and promotions ahead of the World Cup. 

Earnings grew in all but one its major markets, including in South Africa despite lower volumes.

In its largest - the US - its Budweiser and Bud Light lost further market share as consumers traded up to higher-priced beers such as craft, while higher commodity prices and freight costs also weighed.