Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Big names suffer with beer sales falling flat

HEINEKEN and Carlsberg reported a fall in beer sales as European drinkers were hit by bad weather, tax hikes and continued austerity.

Heineken, the world's third-largest brewer, said the volume of beer it sold in the UK and the rest of Western Europe dropped by 8 per cent. Chief executive Jean-François van Boxmeer said the second quarter had seen fewer pints pulled than it had expected at the end of March.

Heineken, which boasts Strongbow cider and Sol and Tiger beer among its brands, saw first-half profits fall 17 per cent to €693m (£590m).

Rival Carlsberg spooked investors with lower-than-expected profits and a more pessimistic outlook for Russia, which has become its single largest market. Chief executive Joergen Buhl Rasmussen said: “Challenging market conditions underpin the importance of our continued efforts to make our business more efficient.”

Carlsberg said Western European volumes dropped 6 per cent in the last quarter. First half-profits were flat at 4.1bn kroner (£469m).