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    Heineken warns of slowdown in consumer demand

    Fans enjoy the podium celebrations during the F1 Grand Prix of Mexico on October 30, 2022 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images for Heineken)

    Dutch brewing giant Heineken said Wednesday that it sold less beer in the third quarter, noting that higher prices and the poor economic outlook was affecting consumer demand.

    The company, whose stable of brands includes Amstel, Sol and Tiger, sold 63.2 million hectolitres of beer in the three months to end of September, a drop of 5.4 per cent.

    Like many firms, Heineken raised prices as inflation hit the cost of its inputs, so overall revenues still rose, edging 2.0 per cent higher compared to the same quarter last year to €9.6 billion (£8.37bn) during the quarter.

    Commenting on the drop in sales volumes, Heineken’s chief executive Dolf van den Brink said that although “inflation-led pricing is tapering, we observe a slowdown of consumer demand in various markets facing challenging macro-economic conditions.”

    But profits have been squeezed. The brewing giant does not provide a third quarter net profit figure, but based on its published data the firm earned €768 million during the quarter, a drop of 18 per cent.

    Over the first nine months of the year, profits were down 12.5 per cent to €1.924bn, with Heineken saying the figure included the effects of exceptional items like its exit from Russia.

    Heineken completed its exit from Russia in August, announcing it sold its operations to the locally-based Arnest Group at an exceptional loss of around €300m.

    But CEO van den Brink noted that sales volumes trends were improving in half of the company’s markets and that the company would continue to pursue its strategy of containing costs and rebalancing towards growing markets.

    Heineken left in place its outlook for a stable to mid-single-digit increase in operating profit in 2023 as a whole.

    (AFP)

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