Heineken has offset falling volumes in western European sales with rapid growth in emerging markets to post a 17% hike in half-year profits.

Beer volumes at the Dutch brewer fell by 2.3% for the past six months, with total sales down 2% to €7.52bn. But profits for the period hit €621m, up from €483m last year.

Heineken UK managing director Stefan Orlowski said the increased profitability vindicated Heineken’s decision to resist deep discounting. However, he conceded that Heineken had lost market share in the UK as a result of its robust pricing policy.

"Today's interim results are encouraging for Heineken's UK business, particularly in light of a still fragile UK drinks market,” he said. “Increased marketing investment and new communications for Strongbow and John Smith's have been particularly successful.”

Orlowski said the autumn would see new campaigns for brands including Foster's, Bulmers and Kronenbourg 1664.

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