Heineken NV, the world’s third-biggest brewer, said volume will advance at a slower pace in 2015 amid ongoing sluggish demand in developed markets.
Continued growth in emerging markets will help offset subdued growth elsewhere, the Amsterdam-based company said in a statement. The company’s operating profit margin will expand less than the brewer’s medium-term target of a 40 basis point advance.
Profit before some items rose 11 per cent to €1.76 billion ($2 billion) in 2014, it said, compared with the €1.74 billion average estimate compiled by Bloomberg.
Central and eastern Europe have been difficult for Heineken and Danish brewer Carlsberg A/S, as they’ve been hurt by price competition in Poland and fallout from sanctions against Russia, where the ruble has slumped and the government has cracked down on alcohol consumption. In response, Heineken has looked to Africa and Asia for growth, even though emerging markets have cooled and are no longer the panacea they were several years ago for consumer-product makers.
“Whilst we expect further volatility in emerging markets and deflationary pressures in 2015, we are confident that we will deliver top- and bottom-line growth in the year ahead,” Heineken chief executive officer Jean-Francois van Boxmeer said in the statement.
Brewers such as Heineken, SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev have pursued growth through acquisitions in recent years as volume has declined in the US and Europe. Heineken, which spurned an overture from SABMiller last year, bought control of its joint venture Asia Pacific Breweries in 2012.
Bloomberg News, edited by Hospitality Ireland