Heineken Denies Plans to Sell Soft-Drinks Business

(Corrects story that originally ran May 2)

Heineken NV (HEIA), the world’s third-biggest brewer, denied it plans to sell its Vrumona soft-drink business in the Netherlands.

Heineken doesn’t plan to sell the business, said John Clarke, a spokesman for the Amsterdam-based company. Bloomberg News earlier reported the company was exploring a sale and had hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. to sell the unit.

Vrumona has been a fully consolidated unit of Amsterdam- based Heineken since 1968. It owns brands including Royal Club and Crystal Clear and produces drinks such as Pepsi and Gatorade under license, according to its website.

Heineken, which in February said it was reviewing its Finnish unit Hartwall, is cutting costs across Europe to counter waning sales and profitability in the region. The company reined back annual growth expectations April 24 after beer volume plunged 8.8 percent in western Europe in the first quarter.

To contact the reporters on this story: Aaron Kirchfeld in London at akirchfeld@bloomberg.net; Clementine Fletcher in London at cfletcher5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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