• First-quarter net profits jump by 34% to SGD154.7m (US$122.3m)
  • Net sales rise by 16% to SGD994.3m
  • Profits before interest and tax rise by 29% to SGD267.9m
  • CR Snow deal for Jiangsu Dafuhao Breweries still pending

Higher beer prices and strong consumer demand in Vietnam helped Asia Pacific Breweries to post rises in sales and profits in its first fiscal quarter.

The joint-venture between Heineken and Fraser & Neave reported net sales for the three months to the end of December up by 16%, to SGD994.3m (US$786.3m). Vietnam led the top-line performance, propelling the firm's Indochina unit to an 18% increase in volumes. 

At the bottom-line, Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) said that profits before interest and tax rose by 29% to SGD267.9m. Net profits increased by 34% to SGD154.7m. Higher beer prices boosted profit margins, while the Tiger lager brewer also benefited from selling a 21.4% stake in China's Kingway Brewery to state-owned GDH.

Looking ahead, however, APB said that it maintains a cautious outlook. "The recent economic uncertainties may dampen consumer demand," it said, adding: "With a high proportion of the group’s earnings from outside Singapore, the reported financial results will continue to be sensitive to currency movements."

The firm also reported "challenging" conditions in some markets, in particular New Zealand and Thailand, the latter having been hit by floods during the quarter.

In July last year, SABMiller's joint-venture in China, CR Snow Breweries, agreed to buy APB's 49% interest in Jiangsu Dafuhao Breweries Co. APB said in its results statement, published late last week, that Chinese anti-monopoly authorities are still examining the deal. A ruling its expected by the end of February.

For the full announcement, click here.