Dutch drinks giant Heineken has reported a steeper than expected decline in first-quarter beer sales, with weaker volumes in all regions except the Americas, but maintained its forecast for profit growth in 2023.
The world's second-largest brewer said that beer volumes fell by 3.0% in the January to March period, below the average expectation of a 1.9% decline in a company-compiled poll.
Revenue growth stood at 9.2% for the period.
"We start the year with strong revenue growth driven by pricing and disciplined revenue management, while we materially increase investment behind our brands," commented chief executive Dolf van den Brink.
"Business performance in Europe and the Americas regions is encouraging, with consumer demand holding up better than expected in the first quarter. Results in the Asia Pacific and Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe regions were disappointing, hindered by temporary volatility in Vietnam and Nigeria, leading to demand softness."
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The group's outlook for the full year has remained unchanged, it added, with Heineken expecting to grow operating profits by mid- to high-single digits.
van den Brink added that the company sees the economic environment as "volatile and uncertain, making us vigilant and focused. Our gross savings programme continues at force, providing fuel to invest behind our strategy.
"All in all, our full year expectations remain unchanged."
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News by Reuters, additional reporting by ESM – your source for the latest drinks news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.