Heineken Beer Volume Beats Estimates on Asia, Americas

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Heineken NV reported beer shipments that rose at more than double the rate analysts expected thanks to growth across Asia and Latin America, sending the shares up as much as 4.6 percent.

Beer volume rose 7 percent, the world’s third-biggest brewer said Wednesday in a statement. Analysts expected 2.4 percent growth. The figure excludes the impact of acquisitions, disposals and currency swings. Profit fell 54 percent to 265 million euros ($301 million) due to a 379 million-euro capital gain last year from the sale of a Mexican packaging unit. The shares rose 3.2 percent as of 9:08 a.m. in Amsterdam, having touched a record 86.95 euros.

It’s a “blowout performance,” wrote Jonathan Fyfe, an analyst at Mirabaud. “The quarter is an advert for Heineken’s favorable market positioning across the Americas region.”

The surprise is a large one for Heineken, which has reported sales within 1.5 percentage points of the analyst consensus in each of the past 10 years. The underlying business in Asia was also strong, Fyfe said.

“Can we analysts be quite that badly wrong?,” Andrew Holland, an analyst at Societe Generale, said by phone. ‘‘Well, yes we can, but the company did also flag the timing of New Year celebrations in China and Vietnam and other one-offs.”

Beer volume in Asia Pacific rose 23 percent, boosted by Vietnamese and Chinese new year celebrations. Growth in the region was almost five times faster than the 4.5 percent median analyst estimate. In Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe, volume growth was led by Ethiopia and Nigeria, where the company has forecast that conditions will remain challenging and the consumer environment weak due to the low global oil price.

The company didn’t quantify the impact of the new year parties and early Easter in the release.

Heineken also reiterated guidance that it anticipates stronger sales and profit in 2016 despite a slowdown in some emerging markets, where the company generates nearly two-thirds of its earnings. The maker of Tiger lager has forecast gains in Asia including in Vietnam, one of its three largest markets. But it’s not alone, as Denmark’s Carlsberg A/S is also pursuing growth in Vietnam and countries like India to offset persistent declines in Russia.

Heineken is trying to keep a lid on expectations by leaving the guidance unchanged, Societe Generale’s Holland said.