Heineken Q1 beer sales flat, but profits bubble

Heineken Q1 beer sales flat, but profits bubble

Dutch brewing giant Heineken reported flat beer sales for the first quarter of 2017, but was cheered by a 10.6-percent rise in profits despite a late Easter this year.

Global beer sales only grew 0.6 percent compared to the same period in 2016, the Amsterdam-based company said in a statement.

Profits were up to 293 million euros ($314 million), compared with 265 million in the first quarter last year.

“Performance in the first quarter was in line with expectations, delivering volume growth against strong comparatives last year,” chairman Jean-Francois van Boxmeer said in a statement.

While beer sales remained strong in Asia, up some 5.4 percent, “in Africa, Middle East and eastern Europe market conditions remain challenging, adversely impacting volume,” the company said.

Heineken is the world’s second-largest brewer after global number one AB InBev clinched a mega deal for its nearest rival SABMiller in November 2015. It was the third biggest takeover in global corporate history.

In February, Japanese brewer Kirin said it was selling its Brazilian unit to the Dutch beer giant for $706 million, citing a “stagnant and competitive” market. The acquisition is due to be completed by the end of the first half of 2017, Heineken said.

Founded in the 19th century, Heineken produces and sells more than 250 brands including Desperados tequila-flavoured beer, Sol and Strongbow cider. It employs about 73,500 people around the world.

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