Heineken and Carlsberg say it’s hard to sell more beer in Europe

BREWING giants Heineken and Carlsberg left investors flat yesterday by posting worse than expected beer sales, particularly in the developed markets of Europe.

Dutch brewer Heineken said profits in emerging markets now make up half of group earnings, though growth in new countries failed to prevent a one per cent fall in organic revenues, which totalled €10.3bn (£8.8bn) in the half-year.

Profits fell one per cent to €679m. The firm said a tax increase in France had contributed to a “challenging trade environment”.

Meanwhile Carlsberg reported that revenue in Asia grew by 10 per cent, but Eastern European sales have fallen slightly.

The brewer has consequently lagged operating profit and revenue forecasts in the second quarter, with profit falling to 3.44bn Danish crowns (£393.23m) from last year’s 3.47bn.

Chief executives at both companies warned yesterday that European demand for beer is likely to remain subdued for the next year.

“Certainly for Europe and North America we don’t see any substantial trading condition change for fast-moving consumer goods and our industry in particular,” said Heineken’s Jean-Francois van Boxmeer.