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    Heineken beer sales pop but hazy days ahead

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    Dutch brewer Heineken said Wednesday its beer sales were up but saw a “challenging and uncertain” economic outlook and couldn’t guarantee the same growth for the rest of the year.

    Global beer volume sold rose by 4.7 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2023, said Heineken, the world’s second-biggest brewer after AB InBev.

    The growth was driven by volumes in Asia-Pacific, which enjoyed 9.4 per cent growth, offsetting slower growth in Europe (1.6 per cent).

    The group’s other brands include Amstel, Sol, Tiger and Birra Moretti.

    Heineken chief executive Dolf van den Brink saw an “encouraging” start to 2024, which was boosted by an early Easter holiday.

    “We continue to see the economic environment as challenging and uncertain, and will remain agile and focused,” he said.

    Despite what the firm described as a “solid” start to the year, it warned “we cannot extrapolate the reported top-line growth to the rest of the year.”

    The brewer left its profit forecasts unchanged for the year, with operating profit predicted at “low-to-high single digits” and net profit lower than that.

    Heineken no longer publishes quarterly net profit figures, unveiling these only in half-year or full-year reports.

    Its annual report in February showed a drop in profits and beer volumes sold over 2023.

    Heineken’s 2023 net profit came in at €2.3 billion (£2bn) compared to the €2.7bn it made the year before.

    Overall beer sales in 2023 dipped by 4.7 per cent, with 60 per cent of that decline driven by sharp falls in Nigeria and Vietnam, according to the firm.

    It said its business last year had been impacted by “unprecedented levels of commodity and energy inflation” and expected the economic environment would remain “a factor of uncertainty” this year as well.

    (AFP)

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