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Heineken beer sales rise on strength outside Europe, US

Ushers display a Heineken at an event in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | Charles Kamau | NMG
Ushers display a Heineken at an event in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | Charles Kamau | NMG 

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 per cent 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 per cent at €83 euros (about Sh10,104) 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 (about Sh9.1 billion) at net profit level, against the €60 million (about Sh7.3 billion) 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 per cent increase in beer volumes, while strength in South Africa, Ethiopia and Russia led to an 8.8 per cent 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 (about Sh181 trillion) for the first nine months, 1 per cent higher than a year earlier when an impairment taken last year for the Democratic Republic of Congo is taken into account.

Key CBK Indicative Exchange Rate Used: €1 = Sh121.74

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