Heineken retained its full-year outlook on Wednesday, bolstering shares in the world's second largest brewer even as it sold less beer.
The Dutch maker of Europe's top-selling lager Heineken, as well as Sol and Tiger, said it made more money in the third quarter despite the decline in volumes, thanks to higher prices and consumers opting for more expensive lagers.
Overall, its revenues and volumes in the quarter were broadly in line with expectations, with worse-than-expected declines in its Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe region offset by slightly better-than-forecast volumes in Latin America and Asia Pacific.
Slower Consumer Demand
Chief Executive Dolf van den Brink said in a statement that Heineken was seeing improved volume trends in half of its markets and was holding market share in just over half.
"Whilst inflation-led pricing is tapering, we observe a slowdown of consumer demand in various markets facing challenging macro-economic conditions," he said.
Heineken reiterated its forecast for operating profit growth in 2023 of between zero and a mid-single-digit percentage, reassuring some investors who had feared the company might need to cut its forecast again.
"After several quarters of miscommunication and over-promising/under-delivery ... today's update should be seen as reassuring," Citi analyst Simon Hales said in a note.
The company's shares rose 2.5% in early trade.
Heineken said beer volumes fell by 4.2% on a like-for-like basis in the July-September quarter, with declines in all regions except the Americas, where it saw a strong performance in Brazil and Mexico. Analysts had expected a 4.3% decline.
In Vietnam, one of the brewer's largest markets, Heineken said things had improved slightly compared to earlier in the year, but its portfolio of premium beers continued to be impacted as a weak economy tempered demand.
Net revenue before one-offs rose 4.5%, just short of analyst expectations of a 4.8% increase, according to a company-compiled poll.