Dutch brewing group Heineken, currently embroiled in a takeover battle for Thai beer group Asia Pacific Breweries, reported higher first-half revenues on Wednesday but expected volume growth was below target.
The total volume of beer sold rose 1.6%, whereas analysts had expected an increase of 2.6%, news agencies reported. Heineken shares fell 2.5% in early trading in Amsterdam.
In line with results at other brewing groups, sales in western Europe were down, due to the economic crisis and poor weather in late spring.
First-half revenue rose 5% to €8.8bn. The group’s net profit increased 30% to €783m, but this includes a post-tax book gain of €131m for the sale of a minority stake in a brewery in the Dominican Republic. Organic earnings were down 0.5%.
Despite cost-cutting measures ‘our profitability in the first half of the year was impacted by difficult trading conditions across Europe as well as higher input costs and planned capability investments,’ CEO Jean-François van Boxmeer said in a statement.
Meanwhile, according to the Financial Times, Heineken has reportedly bought out the 1.4% stake in APB held by Temasek Holdings for S$53 per share.
The move could make it harder for rival brewer Thai Beverage to block Heineken’s most recent bid to acquire APB, maker of Tiger Beer, the FT said.
By taking control of APB, Heineken will strengthen its position in the fast-growing Asian beer market.