* Q3 revenue 4.97 bln euros vs Rtrs poll consensus 4.93 bln
* Group beer volumes fall in western Europe, rise elsewhere
* Price rises, product mix contribute to revenue increase
* Repeats forecast of net profit similar to 2011 level
* Shares down 2.6 pct, among weakest in Europe
(Updates with shares, analyst comment)
By Philip Blenkinsop
BRUSSELS, Oct 24 Heineken NV, the
world's third-largest brewer, reported stronger than expected
third-quarter group revenue on Wednesday, boosted by U.S. and
emerging market strength and price hikes, but investors focused
on weakness in Europe.
Europe's largest brewer, whose Heineken brand is the
continent's number one selling beer, said the main causes were a
double-digit percentage decline in Portugal, which entered its
deepest recession since the 1970s this year, and the withdrawal
of a product from Finland.
While most other regions saw an increase in volumes and
revenues, western Europe, which provided just under half of the
Dutch brewer's revenue last year, continues to suffer declining
demand. Group sales there fell 2.1 percent in the third quarter.
Heineken, which also makes Amstel beer and Strongbow cider,
said consumer caution also led to low single-digit sales
declines in Britain, the Netherlands and Spain, although beer
volumes rose in France and Italy.
Heineken shares have steadily risen after it won a battle to
take full control of Tiger beer maker Asia Pacific Breweries
(APB) last month.
However, they were down 2.6 percent at 46.42 euros at 1110
GMT, making them among the weakest in the FTSEurofirst 300 index
of leading European stocks. The STOXX European food and
beverage index was 0.5 percent higher.
Analysts said they had expected western European volumes to
be largely unchanged year-on-year, with drinking spurred by
warmer, drier weather in August and September.
"Even though it is compensated elsewhere, the market seems
fixated on western Europe," said Andrew Holland, beverage
analyst at Societe Generale. "They have expanded into developing
markets, but western Europe is still a significant part of their
business and it's a drag."
EMERGING MARKET EXPANSION
Heineken's presence in Europe was boosted by its 2008
carve-up with Carlsberg of British brewer Scottish &
However, since then it has been gradually increasing its
exposure to developing countries, including the 2010 purchase of
the brewing assets of Mexico's FEMSA and its
move this year to take full control of APB.
Heineken said group beer volume rose by 4.4 percent in the
Americas, with stronger sales in Brazil, Mexico and the United
States of brands including Dos Equis, Tecate and Kaiser.
In the Asia-Pacific region, group volumes were up 4.8
percent, with heavier drinking in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand
and Vietnam and a high single-digit percentage expansion in
India, where it has a joint venture with United Breweries
, the maker of Kingfisher lager.
Overall, consolidated beer volumes rose 2.2 percent on a
like-for-like basis, broadly in line with expectations.
Revenue rose 4 percent to 4.97 billion euros ($6.44
billion). The average forecast in a Reuters poll of nine
analysts was 4.93 billion.
The company said its operating profit before one-offs was up
by a mid single-digit percentage and its net profit was 577
million euros from 525 million a year earlier.
Heineken maintained its forecast that 2012 net profit would
be similar to that of last year on a like-for-like basis, with
subdued demand in Europe, growth elsewhere and higher packaging
The world's second-largest brewer SABMiller, with
some 70 percent of earnings in emerging markets, notably Africa
and Latin America, last week reported a 4 percent rise in
first-half beer volumes.
World number one Anheuser-Busch InBev reports
third-quarter earnings on Oct 31 and fourth-ranked brewer
Carlsberg on Nov 7.
(Editing by Rex Merrifield and Mike Nesbit)