Heineken NV, the world’s third-largest brewer, reported 16 percent growth in profit for 2015 and forecast a further increase this year amid rising demand for its brands in the U.S.
Sales and profit will both increase in 2016 even with an “increasingly challenging external environment, the Amsterdam-based company said in a statement Wednesday. The operating profit margin will expand in line with Heineken’s medium-term target of a 40 basis-point increase, the brewer said.
“Whilst we expect further volatility in emerging markets and deflationary pressures in 2016, we are confident that we will again deliver top and bottom line growth, as well as margin expansion in line with our guidance,” Heineken Chief Executive Officer Jean-Francois van Boxmeer said in the statement.
Profit before some items rose 16 percent to 2.05 billion euros ($2.32 billion) in 2015, it said, matching the average estimate compiled by Bloomberg.
Beer sales in oil-producing countries such as Russia and Nigeria have been weighed down by a decline of about 40 percent in the crude price since February last year. Smaller brewers have also gained market share from the larger producers in Europe and the U.S. To help address that, Heineken acquired a stake in California-based Lagunitas Brewing Co. in September.
Heineken is preparing to face stiffer competition: Market leader Anheuser-Busch InBev NV agreed to buy nearest rival SABMiller last year for about $104 billion. The deal, the industry’s largest, is expected to close in the second half of 2016.