The World Cup and warmer weather helped boost Heienken’s volumes

Heineken saw global beer volumes rise 3.1% and a “mid-single digit” rise in the UK as the World Cup and warm weather helped boost first-half trading.

The Dutch brewer saw group organic revenue rise by 4.6% during the six months to 30 June, with revenue per hectolitre up 1.5%. On a reported basis, revenues fell by 1.4%, impacted by the relative strength of the Euro against a basket of currencies.

Group operating profit was up 7.7% (translating to organic growth of 13%) to €1.56bn.

Jean-François van Boxmeer, chairman & CEO, commented: “With revenue and profit growth in nearly all regions, this is a very good first-half performance.

“This progress is the result of a continued disciplined strategic focus with sustained investment in our brands and strengthened commercial execution. Our emphasis on innovation has enabled us to exceed our target and deliver €682m of revenues… We also delivered our three-year cost savings target of €625m six months ahead of schedule.”

Heineken said that beer volumes grew by 3.1%, while premium volumes were up 6.6%. This growth was due to marketing programmes, increased innovation and strengthened sales execution, while also benefiting from favourable weather and the World Cup against a soft comparable prior-year period.

This led to market share gains in several of its key markets, including Nigeria, Vietnam, France, The Netherlands, USA, Spain and Brazil.

Heinken said that UK volume growth was driven by a strong performance in the off-trade channel. UK growth reflected increasing consumer confidence, innovation in premium beer and cider, and the positive impact of the World Cup, it said.

During the period, the launches of Old Mout Cider and new flavour variants under the Bulmers and Strongbow brands helped drive solid growth in cider volume. Within the beer portfolio, Foster’s, Kronenbourg 1664, Heineken, Desperados and Sol all achieved solid volume gains, the company said.

However, Heineken warned that overall growth may slow in the second half of the year.

Van Boxmeer said: “The economic outlook remains mixed and we expect some moderation in top-line and profit growth in the second half of the year. We are confident that our strong brand portfolio, geographic breadth and focus on cost control will result in healthy top- and bottom-line growth in 2014 and beyond.”