* Sees organic revenue growth in 2014 after 0.1 pct rise in
* 2013 net profit down 2.0 pct at 1.59 bln as expected
* African improvement in Q4
* Shares up 3 pct, among strongest among European blue chips
(Adds shares, margin, cost savings, CEO on Nigeria, Mexico)
By Philip Blenkinsop
BRUSSELS, Feb 12 Heineken, the world's
third-largest brewer, forecast a return to revenue growth this
year with higher beer sales in Africa, Asia and Latin America
after a slowdown in several emerging markets in 2013.
The Dutch maker of Europe's top-selling Heineken lager as
well as Sol, tequila-flavoured Desperados and Strongbow cider
said on Wednesday 2013 had been challenging with difficulties in
eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa.
The brewer said revenue grew by just 0.1 percent last year
as price rises failed to offset a sharp decline in overall
volumes. For 2014, Heineken said revenue should grow on a
like-for-like basis and excluding currency translation effects.
Growth and cost cuts should help its operating margin
improve, it said. Heineken expects its latest three-year savings
plan, TCM2, to hit its 625 million euro ($855 million) target
Heineken shares were among the strongest performers in the
FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European stock,
rising as much as 3.2 percent to 48.615 euros, the highest level
in almost four weeks.
The STOXX European food and beverage index was up
"There was no growth last year, so some growth in the next
is better. I'd describe it as mildly optimistic after what has
been a very weak year in 2013," said Trevor Stirling, beverage
analyst at Bernstein Research.
"The big drag came from central and eastern Europe and the
Americas and Africa didn't deliver the level of organic growth
they would have expected."
Europe's largest beer seller has a greater share of the
sluggish western European market than rivals, but has boosted
its emerging market presence by expansion into Mexico in 2010
and the buy-out of its joint venture partner in Asia in 2012.
Heineken warned in October that it expected net profit
before one-offs to fall by a low single digit percentage last
year. In fact, it fell by 2.0 percent on a
like-for-like basis to 1.59 billion euros.
That was exactly in line with the average expectation in a
Heineken said volumes had improved in western Europe, in
Africa and the Middle East in the second half, with a pick-up in
large markets of Nigeria, Republic of Congo and the Democratic
Republic of Congo in the fourth quarter.
"We had a very good last quarter in Nigeria. It is true that
you see some changes in the market. You see an increasing value
segment, in which we participate ourselves, but a brand like
Heineken also continues to grow," Chief Executive Jean-Francois
Van Boxmeer told a conference call.
He added he was slightly more optimistic about Nigeria, with
elections due next year. Elections typically prompt economic
stimulus and so more spending on beer.
In Mexico, where economic reforms have been pushed through,
Van Boxmeer saw some early signs of growth. The country became
only the second in Latin America to earn a "A" grade sovereign
rating from Moody's this month.
Diageo, the world's largest spirits maker, suffered
lower demand in China and some other emerging markets due to tax
hikes, discounting rivals and a Chinese government crackdown on
It also said Nigerian consumers opted for cheaper beers
after higher inflation hit disposable income.
World number two brewer, SABMiller said last month
that depreciation of key currencies against the U.S. dollar had
hurt its results.
Heineken said currencies were likely to hit revenues and
profit this year. Based on Monday's spot rates, the impact on
operating profit would be 115 million euros and on net profit 75
World number four Carlsberg reports next
Wednesday and global market leader AB InBev one week
($1 = 0.7312 euros)
(Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek
and Elizabeth Piper)