Heineken scores sales bounce

But demand is lagging in Europe...

Heineken has announced stronger-than-expected sales for the first quarter of 2017 as demand rose in Asia.

Sale volumes increased by 0.6% during the first three months of this year on a like-for-like basis.

They had been expected to dip this year following a strong performance during the first quarter of 2016, particularly since Easter fell in March last year.

The sharpest increase was registered in the Asia-Pacific region, where sales increased by 5.4%.

Reported net profit for the quarter was €293m.

Sales were slightly lower across the Americas and Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe.

It reported strong sales in France, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, and Austria. UK sales dipped marginally, due to a "partial de-listing by a large customer." Tesco is the buyer in question.

Jean-François van Boxmeer, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO, commented: "Performance in the first quarter was in line with expectations, delivering volume growth against strong comparatives last year. Asia Pacific continued to outperform and volume in Europe was solid.

"In Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe market conditions remain challenging, adversely impacting volume. In Americas, whilst Mexican volume was good this was more than offset by weaker volume in Brazil. Our full year expectations remain unchanged."

Willem van Waesberghe, global craft and brew master for Heineken recently spoke to Bobby Kerr on Down to Business about the brand's future and its response to the 'craft beer revolution.'