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Heineken sales hit by cold weather

Dutch brewing company Heineken saw profits fall in the first half of this year as cold weather reduced a desire for lager.

The brewer, which owns brands including Foster’s and Newcastle Brown Ale, saw beer sales fall by nearly 10% in the UK.

Operating profits in western Europe were down 9% on a like-for-like-basis though better performances in markets such as Asia and central and eastern Europe, helped to steady profits across the wider group.

In a statement the brewer said: “Against a backdrop of unseasonably poor weather and continued low consumer confidence, beer volume in the UK declined in the high-single digits, with cider volume declining in the mid-single digits.”

Revenues in western Europe dropped 5% on a like-for-like basis to 3.6 billion euros (£3.1 billion) on beer volumes down 8%. Operating profits in the region fell by 9% to 362 million euros (£309 million), compared to the same period in 2012.

Worldwide volumes declined by 3%, with like-for-like revenues down 1%. Net profit before one-off items was 679 million euros (£580 million), flat on a like-for-like basis as revenue per hectolitre increased 2%.

Chief executive Jean-Francois van Boxmeer added that ongoing difficult economic conditions were still hitting the company, in spite of the recent heatwave.

He said: “Although the volume trends have improved in July with the warm summer weather in Europe, economic conditions in several of our core markets continue to constrain consumer spending.”

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