Beer maker Heineken beats analysts' expectations with its first half results. It posted strong growth in Europe and staged a turnaround in Africa and the Americas. Silvia Antonioli reports.
Cheers all around for Heineken. The beer maker beat forecasts for its first half earnings with growth in all four of its regions. The strongest was Europe. A late Easter and an early, warm start to summer boosted sales - including Europe's top-selling lager Heineken, as well as Tiger and Sol. But the company also managed to stage a turnaround after a weak first quarter elsewhere. SOUNDBITE (English) JEREMY COOK, CHIEF ECONOMIST & HEAD OF CURRENCY STRATEGY AT WORLD FIRST, SAYING: "50% of Heineken's profits come from Europe. 50% is rest of the world so as far as where your next customer is going to be, where the marginal customer improvement is going to be they have to be looking outside of Europe." For Africa, stronger sales in Ethiopia and South Africa more than made up for a decline in Nigeria. While Mexico was the saving grace in the Americas, more than offsetting a slide in Brazil, Panama and to a lesser extent the United States. It warned of volatile economic conditions but said it still expects profit growth for the full year. Heineken is the world's second-largest beer maker. But the gap has widened with global leader AB InBev, especially after its 100-billion-dollar takeover of SABMiller last year.