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Brewing up demand: Heineken's foaming beer sales beat analysts' forecasts

Bottles of Heineken beer are photographed in Washington, USA. March 30, 2018.
Bottles of Heineken beer are photographed in Washington, USA. March 30, 2018. Copyright J. David Ake/AP.
Copyright J. David Ake/AP.
By Eleanor Butler
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The Dutch brewer sold more beer in Q1 compared with the same time last year, with sales of premium brands doing particularly well.

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Heineken, the world's second-largest brewer, has beaten expectations with the news that it sold 4.7% more beer in terms of volume during the first three months of 2024, compared with the same quarter in 2023.

The rise, announced on Wednesday, surpasses analysts' predictions of 2.5% and follows a period of subdued demand.

Heineken last year decided to raise prices in response to increased manufacturing costs, prompting a fall in sales figures.

A notable point of concern for the brewer was the Vietnamese market, where stricter drink-driving rules, overstocking, and economic weakness also sapped demand in 2023.

According to Wednesday's results, the region has bounced back in 2024. Positive growth was also recorded in Nigeria, Mexico, and Brazil.

As far as European sales were concerned, volumes were up 1.6% in the first quarter.

Heineken noted a growing trend for European customers to buy more beer in supermarkets, rather than in bars and restaurants.  

Even so, not all consumers were equally constrained by the cost of living squeeze.

On a global scale, Heineken said sales volumes of its premium beers, including brands such as Birra Moretti and Kingfisher Ultra, grew by 7.3% in the first three months of the year.

Total net revenue for the first quarter came in at €6.8 billion, a 9.4% annual rise, ahead of the 7.2% jump pencilled in by analysts.

Despite strong sales figures, Heineken has not upgraded its full-year forecast.

The brewer in February disappointed investors with an underwhelming outlook for 2024, predicting that annual operating profit growth could be anywhere between a low and high single-digit percentage.

As of around 15h15 CET on Wednesday, Heineken's shares were up around 1.5% in daily trading, at approximately €92 a share.

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