Heineken says first-half revenue falls due to COVID-19, shares slide

FILE PHOTO: Glasses of Heineken beer are seen at a restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam May 30, 2019. Picture taken May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Kham/File Photo

(Reuters) - Heineken's HEIN.AS first-half net revenue fell 16.4% as the impact of coronavirus-related lockdowns intensified in the second quarter, the Dutch beer maker said in an unscheduled preliminary release, sending its shares down more than 5%.

The fall was driven by a 13.4% organic decline in total consolidated volume and a 3.6% drop in net revenue per hectolitre, the world second-largest brewer said, adding beer volume dropped 11.5% in the first-half of 2020.

“After a low point in April, volume started to gradually recover into June as lockdowns were lifted around the world and customers restored depleted inventories,” Heineken said, adding that beer volumes were most affected in the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

The company’s January-June preliminary operating profit and net profit plummeted by 52.5% and 75.8% respectively, it said.

Heineken's Danish rival Carlsberg CARLb.CO said last week it had seen a smaller than forecast drop in first-half operating profit as its key Chinese market rebounded strongly during the second quarter.

Heineken said its operating profit was “disproportionately” affected by restaurant and bars closures in the crisis and said it had booked 500 million euros (£453.93 million) in exceptional items on impairments for tangible and intangible assets, without giving details.

“Heineken pre-announces slightly less bad top-line,” Credit Suisse analysts commented in its first-take note to clients, adding that the impact on margins and organic earnings before interest and tax was slightly worse than it expected.

Heineken will report final first-half results on Aug. 3.

($1 = 0.8773 euros)

Reporting by Piotr Lipinski in Gdansk; Editing by Edmund Blair