October 25, 2017 / 6:43 AM / a year ago

Heineken beer sales rise on strength outside Europe, U.S.

BRUSSELS, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Heineken NV, the world’s second-largest brewer, reported an increase in beer sales in the third-quarter, with growth in all regions except Europe, where a poor summer dampened consumption.

Sales in the July-Sept period rose 2.5 percent excluding the impact of acquisitions to 60.0 million hectolitres, a little ahead of the average 57.9 million average expectation in a Reuters poll.

The Dutch brewer, the top seller in Europe, said very strong growth in Asia Pacific, outside China, led to a 12.2 percent increase in beer volumes, while strength in South Africa, Ethiopia and Russia led to an 8.8 percent rise in sales to Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Growth in the Americas was more muted, as lower sales in the United States partly offset growth in Mexico and Brazil, where Heineken acquired Kirin’s business earlier this year.

In Europe, sales were down due to a cooler summer in France and the Netherlands as well as weakness in Britain and Poland.

The company said it retained its full year expectations that revenue and profit would grow and that its operating margin would increase by about 40 basis points, excluding acquisitions concluded this year.

It also forecasts a negative impact from currencies compared to 2016.

The company reported a net profit of 1.49 billion euros ($1.75 billion) for the first nine months, 1 percent higher than a year earlier when an impairment taken last year for the Democratic Republic of Congo is taken into account. ($1 = 0.8501 euros) (Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek)

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