* 2012 net profit 1.70 bln euros, vs expected 1.65 bln
* Sees volume and revenue growth in 2013
* Sees input costs only slightly rising this year
* Shares up 3.5 percent
(Adds CEO, shares, analyst comment)
By Philip Blenkinsop
BRUSSELS, Feb 13 Heineken, the world's
third-largest brewer, beat expectations for 2012 profit and said
Africa, Asia and the Americas should drive continued volume and
revenue growth, offsetting weak European markets.
Europe's largest beer maker also said on Wednesday that
savings that should outweigh rising costs.
The brewer of Heineken - Europe's best-selling lager, and
Sol, Strongbow and Tiger, said input prices, including malted
barley and packaging, would rise only slightly after rising 8.3
percent last year.
Heineken said it expected to achieve 525 million euros of
cost savings under its TCM2 programme from 2012-14, with 25
million euros of gains from the acquisition of APB now added to
its initial target. It had reached 196 million euros of savings
by the end of December.
"The higher growth regions of Africa, Latin America and Asia
Pacific are expected to more than offset volume weakness in
European markets affected by continued economic uncertainty and
government-led austerity measures," the company said.
"Last year cost savings were eaten up by input costs. This
year, with only a slight increase in input costs, they should
boost the bottom line," Bernstein Research analyst Trevor
Stirling said. "Some brokers were expecting an earnings miss,
with Europe exploding. That did not happen."
Heineken shares, up 41 percent in the past 12 months after
falling 3.3 percent in the past week, were up 3.2 percent to
53.62 euros by 0920 GMT, to be one of the top blue-chip risers
Its net profit before one-offs rose 7.1 percent to 1.70
billion euros ($2.3 billion), compared with a forecast for 1.65
billion in a Reuters poll.
Like-for-like net profit rose 1.6 percent - Heineken had
forecast 2012 profit would be flat on that basis.
After taking full control of Tiger beer maker Asia Pacific
Breweries last year, 64 percent of Heineken's volume and 59
percent of operating profit comes from emerging markets, on a
par with rival Anheuser-Busch InBev.
In the Americas, including a large Mexican business bought
in 2010, Heineken sold 4.2 percent more beer. In Africa, where
it dominates in Nigeria, volumes rose 3.6 percent. Operating
profit in the regions rose 7.9 percent and 9.8 percent
In western Europe, where austerity has accelerated a general
decline in beer drinking, volume fell 2 percent with operating
profit down 6.6 percent.
Heineken faces a challenge there in 2013.
Drinking in France, where it is the leading brewer, is
likely to be hit by a 160 percent increase in duty on beer
introduced at the start of the year. In Spain, where it is the
number two, rising unemployment and austerity measures have cut
drinking, particularly in bars and cafes.
"You have a kind of patchy outlook for Europe ... Some
countries are more resilient than others," chief executive
Jean-Francois van Boxmeer said, adding that premium beers and
innovation could still result in higher revenue there.
($1 = 0.7427 euro)
(Editing by Dan Lalor)