Heineken, the Dutch brewer, reported a drop in net profit of 4.5% due to weaker currencies, which it said is in line with its forecast from February 2004.

Sales of the Heineken brand were up 5.8% in the premium sector and the company also reported a 6% organic net profit growth.

Since the start of the year the company has invested in the Kingsway brewery in China, as well as two acquisitions in Russia and partnerships with Lion Nathan in Australia, Diageo in South Africa and FEMSA in the USA.

The executive board chairman said: “Heineken reiterates that for the full year of 2004 it expects organic net profit growth.

“However, given the high benchmark set by last year’s excellent summer in Europe, the organic growth rate will inevitably be lower in the second half of the year compared with that of the first half of 2004.”