Heineken Beer Sales Beat Estimates on Growth Across Asia

Heineken NV, the world’s third-biggest brewer, reported beer sales that advanced more than analysts estimated, as demand in Asia and Latin America offset declines across Europe.

Beer volume rose 2.2 percent versus the 1.4 percent median estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News, the Amsterdam-based company said Wednesday. Revenue increased 2 percent, compared with the 2.3 percent median estimate. Both figures are reported on a so-called consolidated basis, and exclude acquisitions, disposals and currency swings.

Heineken, which also reiterated its full-year guidance, is anticipating stronger sales and profit in 2015 despite volatility in some emerging markets, where it generates nearly two-thirds of operating profit. The Desperados brewer is regrouping its business around four geographic regions, including a single unit for its struggling European operations, which just added Slovenia’s biggest brewer in a deal valued at 114 million euros ($122 million.)

“The volume beat was primarily due to the Americas, buoyed by the Heineken brand in Brazil,” James Edwardes Jones, an analyst at RBC Capital, said in a note. “The Heineken brand performed well, with volumes up 6.2 percent, a solid acceleration from the fourth quarter.”

Mexico, Brazil

The Americas posted a 5.9 percent volume gain, paced by Mexico, Brazil and the U.S. Beer volumes in Asia rose 11 percent, beating analysts’ estimates, fueled by gains in Vietnam, Cambodia and China. The brewer is bracing for a ban on alcohol sales in Indonesian convenience stores.

Heineken gained control of the beer business of Mexico’s Femsa in 2010, giving Femsa a 20 percent interest in the Dutch company. The lockup period on a sale of that stake ends May 1, leading to speculation about the company’s future.

“Volumes were once again strong in Asia Pacific and Americas, offset by slightly lower volumes in Europe and more subdued volume growth in Africa Middle East,” Chief Executive Officer Jean-Francois van Boxmeer said in the statement.

Volume in central and eastern Europe declined compared with the previous quarter, down 2.5 percent versus the fourth quarter’s 1.1 percent drop. Russia, Belarus and the Czech Republic continued to struggle, despite the benefit of an earlier Easter holiday across the region. Western Europe was down 1.7 percent, as the U.K. and Belgium weakened.

Heineken fell 1.3 percent to 74.77 euros at 9:40 a.m. in Amsterdam.

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