Heineken NV said today (7 September) that its first half net profits had fallen 8.2% on the same period last year, despite a 5.8% rise in turnover and 3.3% growth in group volumes.

Reported net profit of Heineken N.V. decreased to €345m due to exceptional charges and weaker currencies against the euro. In organic terms, net profit increased by 5.4%. Group volumes reached 56.2m hl, up from 54.4m hl last year, leading to a turnover of €5,142m. Turnover in the first half of last year reached €4,859m.

The company said that sales of Heineken beer in the premium segment grew by 3% to 9.7m hl.

In the US, sales volume excluding distribution of the Femsa brands, decreased by 2.5%. However, depletions - sales by distributors to the retail-trade - were down only marginally (-0.4%). Heineken said it has launched its Premium Light Lager into test-markets, and the national roll out is expected to take place in the first half of 2006.

Heineken reiterated its full-year profit outlook for 2005. The company expects organic growth in net profit that will not exceed mid-single digits for the full year.

"As already stated in February, the negative impact of foreign currencies, particularly relating to the US dollar, is expected to outweigh the predicted organic net profit growth and positive net contributions from new acquisitions," a statement said.

Heineken added that it would continue to increase the efficiency of the company and expects to take additional exceptional charges in the second half of the year, currently estimated at about €70m before tax. This relates to efficiency improvements linked to the new brewery that is under construction in Seville, Spain. The item will not impact the organic net profit growth of the business for the second half of 2005 as it will be reported as an exceptional item.

An interim dividend of €0.16 per share of €1.60 nominal value will be paid on 21 September. Heineken Holding N.V. shares will be quoted ex dividend from 8 September.