London: Heineken NV reported beer shipments that rose at more than double the rate analysts expected thanks to growth across Asia and Latin America, heaping pressure on the Dutch brewer’s global peers who are next in line to report.
Beer volume rose 7%, the world’s third-biggest brewer said Wednesday in a statement. Analysts expected 2.4% growth. The figure excludes the impact of acquisitions, disposals and currency swings. The shares were up 0.8% as of 11:24 am in Amsterdam, paring gains after surging 4.6% to a record €86.95.
It’s a “blowout performance," wrote Jonathan Fyfe, an analyst at Mirabaud. “The quarter is an advert for Heineken’s favourable market positioning across the Americas region."
The surprise is a large one for Heineken and raises expectations for European rivals SABMiller Plc, Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and Carlsberg. Heineken’s beer volume in Asia Pacific rose 23%, boosted by Vietnamese and Chinese new year celebrations. Growth in the region was almost five times faster than the 4.5% median analyst estimate.
The brewer didn’t quantify the impact of the new year parties and the earlier timing of Easter this year. Excluding the boost from Vietnam, beer volume growth was probably mid-single digit, Komal Dhillon, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co., wrote.
Heineken, which gets about two-thirds of profit from emerging markets, reiterated that it anticipates stronger sales and profit in 2016 led by Asia, despite a slowdown in some markets such as Russia. First-quarter profit fell 54% to €265 million ($301 million) due to a 379 million-euro capital gain last year from the sale of a Mexican packaging unit.
“Can we analysts be quite that badly wrong?," Andrew Holland, an analyst at Societe Generale, said by phone. ‘‘Well, yes we can, but the company did also flag the timing of New Year celebrations in China and Vietnam and other one-offs."
The brewer is trying to keep a lid on expectations by leaving the guidance unchanged, he said.
The beer market in Asia has not been favourable to all brewers, with China Resources Beer and Tsingtao reporting profit declines last month as consumers shifted to other drinks.
Heineken outperformed the sluggish US market and beat estimates in Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe. Volume growth was led by Ethiopia and Nigeria, where the company has forecast that conditions will remain challenging and the consumer environment weak due to the low global oil price. Heineken also had double-digit growth in Brazil, a market dominated by AB InBev. Bloomberg