Heineken beer sales rise on strength outside Europe, U.S

Oct 25, 2017

Heineken the world's second-largest brewer, reported an increase in third-quarter beer sales on Wednesday, with growth in all regions except Europe, where poor summer weather reduced demand, and in the United States.

Sales in the July-Sept period rose 2.5 percent excluding the impact of acquisitions to 60.0 million hectolitres, a little ahead of the average 57.9 million average expectation in a Reuters poll. The share price was down 2.2 percent at 83 euros at 0905 GMT, making the shares one of the weakest performers in Europe's FTSEurofirst index.

Analysts said the weakness in Europe and a sharper than predicted impact from changes in foreign currency exchange rates were behind the fall.

Heineken has already warned of a negative translational impact from foreign exchange rates, but estimated on Wednesday that for the full year it would be 75 million euros at net profit level, against the 60 million euro figure it gave in July.

The Dutch brewer, the top seller in Europe, said very strong growth in Asia Pacific, outside China, led to a 12.2 percent increase in beer volumes, while strength in South Africa, Ethiopia and Russia led to an 8.8 percent rise in sales to Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Growth in the Americas was more muted, as lower sales in the United States partly offset growth in Mexico and Brazil, where Heineken acquired Kirin's business earlier this year.

In Europe, sales were down due to a cooler summer in France and the Netherlands as well as weakness in Poland and Britain, where supermarket Tesco has pulled some Heineken brands from its shelves over planned price increases. 

The company said it retained its full year expectations that revenue and profit would grow and that its operating margin would increase by about 40 basis points, excluding acquisitions concluded this year.

The company reported a net profit of 1.49 billion euros ($1.75 billion) for the first nine months, 1 percent higher than a year earlier when an impairment taken last year for the Democratic Republic of Congo is taken into account.


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