Heineken NV, the world’s third largest brewer, reported higher first-half results than markets expected as it increased profit in all regions except Africa and maintained its full-year forecast of growth, albeit slower than in 2014.
The Dutch brewer fared best in Asia, where expansion was strongest thanks to double-digit percentage growth in Vietnam thanks to its Tiger brand, followed by the Americas, where Heineken brews in Mexico and exports into the United States.
In Europe, where Heineken is the market leader, the Dutch group sold less beer, a year on from the soccer World Cup and with mostly worse weather, but still persuaded its consumer to accept price hikes or shift to more expensive beer.
Higher profit in the likes of Spain and Poland, was offset by lower earnings in countries such as Britain and Greece.
Africa was the group’s weak spot, as a currency devaluation leading to inflation of over 9 percent caused margin pressure in Nigeria. The company also performed less well in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Egypt.
Overall, consolidated operating profit before one-off items rose 3.4 percent on like-for-like basis to 1.55 billion euros ($1.70 billion), above the average of 1.53 billion euros in a Reuters poll of 10 analysts.
Heineken maintained its forecast of revenue growth, with volumes rising at a slower pace than in 2014 and weighted more to the second half. The company is also targeting an annual improvement of operating margin of 40 basis points medium term.