Last updated: February 13, 2013 1:25 pm

Heineken’s firm recovery cheers investors

Shares in Heineken rose after the Dutch brewer beat analysts’ expectations for 2012 earnings with a strong recovery in Europe in the second half of the year.

Heineken’s sales were up 7 per cent on the previous year at €18.4bn, while earnings before interest, tax, exceptional items and amortisation rose 8 per cent to €2.9bn.

Net profits more than doubled to €2.9bn due to one-off transactions related to the company’s acquiring full control of its Asia Pacific Breweries subsidiary, maker of Tiger beer.

Excluding exceptional items, net profits rose 7 per cent year on year to €1.7bn.

The shares were up 4 per cent to €54.10 in morning trading on the Amsterdam exchange, against a 0.3 per cent drop in the AEX index.

The recovery in Europe in the second half of 2012 was partly thanks to strong sales during the Olympics in Britain.

But demand in Europe remained generally weak, Jean Francois van Boxmeer, chief executive, told the Financial Times.

“Overall beer volumes are under pressure. However, within that, we continuously work to further segment the market [by introducing new brands], to upgrade the market,” he said. “Europe has uncertainties, but we are pretty well used now to working within them.”

The company’s broader strategy is to increase its exposure to younger, faster-growing emerging markets in Asia, Africa, eastern Europe and Latin America, which grew to 64 per cent of its volume in 2012.

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