Heineken’s Currency Headwinds Offset Volume Gains in Vietnam

  • Asian volumes increase 15% while Russia, Brazil see declines
  • Brewer’s shares fall as much as 2.5% in Amsterdam trading

Heineken NV failed to satisfy its most optimistic investors by leaving its full-year profitability forecast unchanged, taking the shine off beer shipments that beat analysts’ estimates.

Currency pressures have increased in Latin America, while shipments declined in the business unit that includes Russia and Africa, the Dutch company said in a statement Wednesday. The shares fell as much as 2.5 percent in Amsterdam.

“I think some investors were hoping Heineken would raise guidance and they didn’t,” Trevor Stirling, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said by phone. “The underlying numbers were pretty good, especially in Europe and Asia. Africa was weak, but no weaker than expected.”

Chief Executive Officer Jean-Francois van Boxmeer is seeking growth from developing markets such as Vietnam and Cambodia to offset falling demand in Russia and Brazil. Heineken is one of seven companies that has registered to bid for a stake in Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp., Vietnam’s largest brewer, looking to capitalize as the country’s rising middle class fuels a surge in beer consumption.

“Strong performance continued in key markets such as Vietnam and Mexico,” Van Boxmeer said in the statement. The company’s board proposed extending the CEO’s term, which expires in April, for four more years.

  • Third-quarter volume increased 2 percent on an organic basis, led by a 15 percent gain in the Asia Pacific region. Analysts expected 1.4 percent growth
  • Brewer reiterated forecast for annual improvement in operating margin of about 0.4 percentage points
  • Nine-month profit fell 30 percent to 1.24 billion euros ($1.4 billion) after a one-time gain of 379 million euros from the sale of Mexican packaging operations boosted results in the year-earlier period
  • Adverse currency shifts will reduce net income this year by about 115 million euros, based on rates as of Oct. 20, compared with the 110 million euros previously seen
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