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Heineken has increased its beer volumes 7% organically in the first quarter with a positive performance recorded across all regions.

The Dutch brewer reported this morning in a trading update that it had shifted 43.5 million hectolitres (mhl) in the period, representing total growth of 11%.

Its premium beers, such as Desperados, Tiger, Sol and Birra Moretti, also registered organic growth of 4.8% in the period – and overall growth of 7%.

In Europe, the brewer said organic beer volume growth of 2.3% was helped by mild weather in some countries, as well as the earlier timing of Easter. It added volume development was positive in Spain, France, the UK, Austria, Poland and Italy.

Heineken’s reported net profit in the quarter was €265m, significantly down on the €579m a year ago after the brewer sold its Mexican packaging business Empaque for $1.2bn and made a one-off gain of €379m.

CEO Jean-François van Boxmeer said: “This has been a good first quarter supported by a strong Vietnamese and Chinese New Year period and the earlier timing of Easter. There was good volume growth in Americas and Europe. In Africa Middle East and Eastern Europe, volume growth reflected easier comparatives in Nigeria, and the region remains challenging.

“Our full year expectations remain unchanged. Adverse currency development continues to weigh on results and foreign exchange markets remain volatile.”

Heineken estimates the impact of negative translational currency for 2016 will be approximately €80m at consolidated operating profit and €50m at net profit.

Shares in the beer giant reacted positively to the Q1 update, rising 2.4% to €85.13 so far.

Morning update

Finsbury Food Group (FIF) has appointed Zoe Morgan as non-executive director as Edward Beale steps down from the board of the cake, bread and morning goods manufacturer after 13 years. Morgan, who takes up the position on 4 July, has 15 years executive director, including as group marketing director of The Co-operative Group, HBoS Retail and Boots UK. For the past eight years she has held a portfolio of non-executive positions and is currently a board member of Moss Bros, Kind Consumer and The Good Care Group.

Beale will step down from the board following the AGM in November. He was appointed as a director of Finsbury when Memory Lane Cakes was reversed into the Megalomedia cash shell to create group in August 2002, initially serving as interim finance director until August 2003.

Finsbury chairman Peter Baker said: “On behalf of the board and the wider group I welcome Zoe to the business. She brings with her extensive marketing, business and brand development experience, and her appointment comes at an exciting time in Finsbury’s development. Zoe’s experience with multi-branded businesses will be invaluable as we continue to grow and diversify, and I very much look forward to working with her.

“I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Edward for his support and contribution to the Group throughout this time, helping us to reach our current position in the market.”

Almost 60,000 companies in the UK were in a “dire” financial state when the new national living wage was implemented on 1 April, according to Begbies Traynor. The insolvency firm predicted a spate of business failures this year as a result of the new law as businesses absorb higher staff costs. Begbies red flag research for Q1 found that 59,608 businesses in the industries most impacted by the NLW ended the quarter in a state of ‘significant’ financial distress – a 20% increase compared to the same period last year. The group of struggling companies included 4,638 sports and health businesses, 6,010 wholesale outlets, 3,540 hotels, 15,665 bar and restaurants, 21,129 retailers, 3,178 industrial transportation and logistics firms and 5,448 food and drug retailers.

It follows the British Retail Consortium warning earlier this year that UK retailers will have to find an extra £3bn a year by 2020 to pay for the increased wage.

Begbies partner Julie Palmer said: “These struggling businesses have already had to take drastic steps to mitigate the immediate cost impacts of the living wage on their businesses, including reducing overtime and bonuses, passing on the higher costs to customers through inflated prices, reducing staff numbers and in many cases, cutting the pay of workers under 25.

“However these severe measures, while effective in the short term, are unappealing for customers, staff and the businesses themselves and unfortunately do not offer a long term solution to the problem.

“What’s more, the latest economic projections predict that the long term costs of the new scheme could be in the billions, which is an extremely worrying prospect for the thousands of UK employers affected by the change. My concern is that, as more of the hidden costs begin to emerge, many companies could find themselves stretched to breaking point.”

Yesterday in the City

Poundland (PLND) jumped 12% to 160.1% yesterday to make back some of its heavy gains this year. It came after broker Peel Hunt moved the stock to ‘reiterates’ with the recommendation being set at ‘buy’. The firm set its target price at 300p, the price Poundland floated at back in March 2014, highlighting the upsides in the price, which has fallen on the back of poor trading and difficulties with the 99p Stores deal.

Danone (BN) also had a good day with the share price up 3.5% to €64.52 after the French group confirmed its full-year outlook as like-for-like sales increased 3.5% in the first quarter.

Reckitt Benckiser (RB) rose again after Monday’s gains to finish 1.5% up at 6,974p. The health and hygiene giant benefited from a solid Q1 update on Monday and Liberum moving its target price up from 7250p to 8,000p.

Associated British Foods (ABF) climbed 2% to 3,413p despite currency translation hurting the top line as operating profits improved 3% to £486m in the first half as the sugar business started to improve.

London’s leading index of shares was also up 0.8% to 6,405.35 points to its highest level in four months thanks to good performances from mining and banking stocks.

On the downside, Real Good Food (RGD) fell 4.7% to 41p, Premier Foods (PFD) slipped back 3% to 40.8p and Marks & Spencer (MKS) was down 1.7% to 434.8p.

Premier took a hit after Credit Suisse, one of four advisers to Premier during its talks with McCormick, cut its target price for the shares to 50p from 70p, a 23% discount to the McCormick’s 65p offer last month.