Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Heineken gets revenue boost on sales outside W Europe

BRUSSELS - Heineken NV, the world's third-largest brewer, reported a stronger than expected increase in third-quarter revenue on Wednesday as it sold more beer in all regions except western Europe and profited from price hikes.

Heineken, fresh from its battle to take full control of Tiger beer maker Asia Pacific Breweries (APB), said revenue rose 4 per cent to 4.97 billion euros ($6.44 billion). The average forecast in a Reuters poll of nine analysts was 4.93 billion.

The maker of Heineken itself, Amstel and Strongbow cider maintained its forecast that 2012 net profit would be similar to that of last year on a like-for-like basis, with subdued demand in Europe and growth elsewhere and higher packaging costs.

Europe's largest brewer, whose Heineken brand is the continent's number beer, said the challenging economy and consumer caution led to declining sales in Britain, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
However, beer sales rose in France and Italy.

Just under half of the Dutch brewer's revenue last year came from western Europe, boosted by its 2008 carve-up with Carlsberg of British brewer Scottish & Newcastle.

However, since then it has been gradually increasing its exposure to developing countries, including the 2010 purchase of the brewing assets of Mexico's FEMSA and its move this year to take full control of APB.

Heineken said group beer volume rose by 4.4 per cent in the Americas, with stronger sales in Brazil, Mexico and the United States of brands including Dos Equis, Tecate and Kaiser.

In the Asia-Pacific region, group volumes were up 4.8 per cent, with heavier drinking in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and a high single-digit percentage expansion in India, where it has a joint venture with United Breweries, the maker of Kingfisher lager.

SABMiller, with some 70 per cent of earnings in emerging markets, notably Africa and Latin America, last week reported a 4 per cent rise in first-half beer volumes.

World number one Anheuser-Busch InBev reports third-quarter earnings on Oct 31 and fourth-ranked brewer Carlsberg on Nov 7.

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