Heineken cheers rise in nine-month profits

The Hague (AFP) –


Dutch brewing giant Heineken on Wednesday toasted bubbling net profits in the first nine months, as growing sales in Asia and the Americas offset a slump in Europe.

The world's number two brewer said profits for the period from January to September were up 19.9 percent year-on-year to 1.49 billion euros ($1.75 billion).

Without giving a monetary figure for turnover, the Amsterdam-based company said net beer sales rose 2.5 percent in the period "with growth in Asia Pacific, Americas and Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe offsetting lower volume in Europe."

"Europe had to face tough comparatives, partly due to less favourable weather in some key markets," chief executive Jean-Francois van Boxmeer said in a statement.

But he added "our full year expectations remain unchanged."

Overall across all drinks, sales were up 3.4 percent "driven by Brazil, South Africa, Russia and Mexico," the company statement said .

Founded in the 19th century, Heineken produces and sells more than 250 brands including Desperados tequila-flavoured beer, Sol, John Smith's and Strongbow cider and employs about 80,000 people in 70 countries around the world.

The company also announced that its purchase of the ailing Punch Taverns across Britain, in a deal with Patron Capital, had been completed in late August.

The two companies agreed late last year to buy more than 3,000 pubs for £402.7 million (481 million euros, $502 million).

Heineken said in December that under the terms of the "back-to-back" deal, it was taking over 1,900 pubs at a cost of £305 million.

The Punch Taverns will be added to Heineken's existing 1,049 leased and tenanted Star pubs which the company has owned since 2008.