Heineken increased beer sales in the first three months of 2018, with an earlier Easter and sharp volume increases in Asia and the Americas countering weakness in Europe.
The Dutch maker of Heineken, Tiger and Sol lagers said on Wednesday (April 18) that beer volumes rose 4.3% year on year and maintained its full-year guidance.
The earlier Easter meant stocking ahead of the festive period took place in March rather than April, helping to boost volumes by 6.8% in the Americas, while a later lunar New Year drove Heineken to an 11.3% gain in Asia.
Volumes in Mexico, Heineken's largest market, were up by a high single-digit percentage and there was double-digit growth in its second-largest market, Vietnam, and in Brazil, where it increased its presence last year.
The brewer also registered improved business in Russia, Ethiopia and Ivory Coast, though sales slipped in Egypt and Nigeria, its biggest African market.
On a regional basis, the worst performer was western Europe, where Heineken is market leader, with volumes down 1.7%. Heineken said cold weather more than offset the impact of an early Easter. Only in Italy did volumes rise.
The company retained its full-year outlook for its operating profit margin to expand by about 25 basis points.
It also said that negative currency effects on operating profit would be €200 million based on current exchange rates. In mid-February, it had put the figure at €190 million.