Heineken tips 2010 as tough as sales slide

HEINEKEN has forecast lower beer consumption and limited price increases this year.

The prediction came as the brewing giant yesterday reported 2009 results in line with expectations.
Heineken, like other brewers, suffered from recession-hit consumers drinking less beer.

Chairman Jean-François van Boxmeer said: “The global economic environment will continue to lead to lower beer consumption in a number of regions in 2010.

“Demographics are working against us, the population is ageing and as you age you drink less beer.

“The other phenomenon is that with the wealth creation of the last 30 years, people diversify their consumption and try wines instead of beer.”

The Dutch company, whose chief brands are Heineken and Amstel, said it was committed to maintaining prices and would continue to pass on excise duty rises to consumers.

However, it said that price increases would not be as steep this year as they were in 2009. Heineken has been hit harder by the consumer downturn in the west as it relies more on the European and North American markets.

Meanwhile Carlsberg reported a 38 per cent rise in profit to 3.6bn Danish Kroner (£425m) in 2009, driven by strong performances in Eastern Europe and Asia. The beer’s volumes increased six per cent.