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Heineken beer sales rise in every region, outlook held

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Heineken beer sales rise in every region, outlook held
FILE PHOTO - Heineken beers are seen on a production line at the Heineken brewery in Jacarei, Brazil June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker   -   Copyright  PAULO WHITAKER(Reuters)
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By Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Heineken NV <HEIN.AS>, the world’s second largest brewer, increased beer sales in all four of its global regions in the third quarter and said it stuck to its full-year outlook.

The Dutch maker of Heineken, Europe’s top-selling lager, as well as Tiger, Sol and Strongbow cider, said on Wednesday its consolidated beer volumes rose by 4.6 percent year-on-year to 62.6 million hectolitres in the July-September period.

The figure was broadly in line with analysts’ average expectation in a Reuters poll of 62.5 million hectolitres.

“Volume growth continued in the third quarter, benefiting from good weather in Europe and strong growth in Brazil, Mexico, Vietnam and South Africa,” Chief Executive Officer Jean-Francois van Boxmeer said in a statement.

Sales of Heineken lager, the company’s premium global brand on which margins are greater, rose by 9.2 percent, with strong growth in Brazil, South Africa, France and Russia.

The only negative spots were declines of beer sales in Nigeria, a major Heineken market, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cambodia, Poland and Spain. Heineken lager sales also fell in the Asia-Pacific region.

The company said its expectations for the full year were unchanged.

Heineken cut its full-year margin forecast in July due to currency weakness in some more profitable markets, such as Mexico and Vietnam, and expansion in Brazil.

It said its operating profit margin would decline by 20 basis points this year, compared with an earlier forecast of a 25 basis point increase.

Heineken acquired the loss-making Brazilian operations of Japan’s Kirin <2503.T> in 2017 to become the number two player in the South America country, and had previously warned of a dilutive impact on its margins.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Mark Potter)

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