Dutch brewer Heineken NV said today it sold more beer in the first quarter of 2016 (Jan – Mar) than it expected, buoyed by 23% volume growth in Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia) and higher sales around the Chinese New year.
Jean-Francois van Boxmeer, Chairman of the Executive Board & CEO, said: “This has been a good first quarter supported by a strong Vietnamese and Chinese New Year period and the earlier timing of Easter.
“There was good volume growth in Americas and Europe.”
However, Africa proved more challenging, especially Nigeria, where low global oil price has reduced consumer spending.
“It is becoming increasingly challenging to obtain hard currency in the market, and the uncertainty regarding a possible devaluation of the Naira continues to impact the business adversely” the company said in a statement.
Heineken said beer volumes rose 7% to 43.5 million hectoliters, more than the median 41.3 million hectoliters forecasted by analysts.
On a region basis, Africa, Middle-East & Eastern Europe recorded 12% volume growth, 5% organic.
Growth in Africa was driven by Nigeria and Ethiopia but elsewhere in the region, volume was lackluster. The brewer said if Nigeria was excluded, volumes would have been down organically.
In the Americas, volumes rose 9% to 13.5m hectoliters, 8% organic growth.
Asia Pacific region saw the highest volume growth, 5.8m hectoliters reporting a 31% increase, 23% organic.
Europe saw a 5% volume growth in 15.2m hectoliters and 2% organic growth.
Heineken reported a global net profit of €265m for the quarter down significantly from last year’s €579m. However, the 2015 figure included the exceptional post tax book gain of €379m from the sale of EMPAQUE.