Europe growth is small beer for Heineken as other regions slump

City A.M. Reporter
HEINEKEN the world’s third largest brewer by volume, yesterday lowered its guidance for full-year profit after beer sales in eastern European dropped sharply and slipped in Brazil and in its large African markets.

The group, which makes Europe’s best-selling Heineken lager, Sol, Tiger and Strongbow cider, said it now expected net profit before one-offs to fall by a low single-digit percentage this year on a like-for-like basis.

It previously forecast that net profit would be broadly unchanged from that of 2012. It added that the stronger euro against a number of developing market currencies would have a negative €40m (£24.7m) impact.

Heineken said the weakness of the beer market in central and eastern Europe and difficulties in key developing markets, including Brazil, Nigeria, Egypt and the Democratic Republic of Congo, led to lower than expected lager sales.

However, volumes improved by one per cent in western Europe, largely due to a hot, dry summer.

Consolidated beer volumes slipped three per cent on a like-for-like basis to 48.3m hectolitres, lower than the 50.2m hectolitres average expected in a Reuters poll of seven banks and brokers.

Consolidated revenue was up just 0.2 per cent to €5.18bn, again lower than the €5.41bn forecast in the Reuters poll. Shares in Heineken closed down 4.5 per cent at €50.46.