Ireland. Heineken warn of challenging 2011

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Heineken’s Irish market share grew marginally last year — driven by good performances from its eponymous lager and Coors Light brands — but the company has warned of a “challenging” 2011 ahead.
Heineken Ireland’s 2010 turnover came in at €402 million — pretty much in line with the previous year’s total — but its share of the overall beer market on the island of Ireland grew by 0.2% to 26.3%.
Heineken and Coors Light were the fastest growing brands in the Irish pub-trade last year.
The latter “significantly” outperformed the Irish beer market, with growth levels of 6.2%, while the Heineken brand, itself, remains the country’s best selling lager brand, with a 41% share of the pub-based lager market.
Meanwhile, the company’s stout brands — Murphy’s and Beamish — “performed broadly in line with the declining stout market for 2010”.
The company has, however, pointed to the potential for a tough year ahead.
“The pub trade is totally dependent on disposable income. Severe constraints on credit — combined with levels of consumer disposable spend being stretched — will certainly make it tough for all to compete, and in reality 2011 will be another tough period for the industry,” management said yesterday.
Heineken Ireland did point out that last year’s 20% excise reduction has had the desired effect on arresting cross-border purchasing, resulting in 6% growth in the off-trade sector, but said more needs to be done.
“The overall situation remains extremely difficult for a key national industry that continues to support nearly 75,000 jobs and provides €2bn in VAT and excise revenues to the state.
“Some form of stimulus is needed here to arrest the decline of the pub segment in the Irish marketplace of today,” the company added.
The value of Ireland’s total beer market fell by 6%, or €200m, last year to €2.6bn. Meanwhile, on a group-wide basis, Heineken NV reported a 9.7% increase in annual revenue to €16.1bn and a 41% rise in net profit to €1.44bn.
Group management said that its European focus, this year, will be on innovation and marketing, while volume development will be the key focus in the emerging markets of Latin America, Africa and Asia.