Heineken refreshes despite sales drop

HEINEKEN, the world's third-largest brewer, reported a higher than expected rise in first-half net profit after cost savings helped to offset lower beer sales in Europe and the United States.

The Dutch-based brewer, whose chief brands are Heineken and Amstel, Europe's number one and three beers, said group beer volumes fell 2.3 percent on a like-for-like basis, but costs savings, lower raw material and interest costs and its joint ventures led to a 17 percent rise in net earnings.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

The company said it remained cautious about beer consumption in Europe and the United States due to continued weak consumer spending and planned austerity measures, but expected volumes to grow in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Heineken's first-half results included two months from the beer business of Mexico's FEMSA, bought to boost exposure to faster-growing emerging markets.

Just over half of Heineken's revenue last year came from western Europe. Heineken said the integration of FEMSA Cerveza was on track, with synergies due in the second half. Recent brewing results have been mixed. An upbeat Anheuser-Busch forecast greater growth in the second half after strong sales in Brazil and the soccer World Cup boosted second-quarter earnings.