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Dutch brewer Heineken reported sluggish volume growth in the first quarter despite continued high demand from drinkers in Asia Pacific.

Heineken, which said its first quarter is traditionally less significant in terms of volume and contribution to profits, said net income in the three months to March was €293m compared to €265m a year earlier.

The volume of beer sold in Africa, the Middle East and eastern Europe fell 0.4 per cent year-on-year on a like-for-like basis, and was down 0.7 per cent in the Americas. However it grew 5.4 per cent in Asia-Pacific. Overall the volume of beer sold was up 0.6 per cent year-on-year.

Chairman and chief executive Jean-François van Boxmeer said:

Performance in the first quarter was in line with expectations, delivering volume growth against strong comparatives last year. Asia Pacific continued to outperform and volume in Europe was solid.

In Africa, Middle East & Eastern Europe market conditions remain challenging, adversely impacting volume. In Americas, whilst Mexican volume was good this was more than offset by weaker volume in Brazil. Our full year expectations remain unchanged.

Foreign exchange markets were “very volatile,” the group added. However its full-year expectations were unchanged.

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