• Brewer launches Global Business Services division
  • To supervise all purchasing
  • To be headed by Heineken France MD
Heineken seeks greater control of global costs

Heineken seeks greater control of global costs

Heineken has launched a special business unit to help the brewer more tightly control costs across its global operations.

Heineken's managing director in France, Frans Eusman, will move to head up the brewer's new Global Business Services division, the Netherlands-based brewer said late yesterday (31 August). Eusman will take a seat on Heineken's executive board and his job will be to ensure best practices are followed across the company and its subsidiaries, from raw materials procurement to back-office administration.

The move comes as Heineken seeks to reduce costs as part of its three-year Total Cost Management programme, as well as to integrate the FEMSA Cerveza beer business in Mexico.

A Heineken spokesperson told just-drinks today that Eusman's role will include supervision of raw materials purchases. "It will include raw materials but it is important to stress that this will be done in close cooperation with Group Supply Chain, who will provide the required specifications to ensure that quality and consistency will be maintained at all times," the spokesperson said.

"Given the scale and speed of our organisational development, we believe there is considerable benefit in moving towards a more structured approach to providing business services," said Heineken's chairman and CEO, Jean-François van Boxmeer. "With Frans' extensive knowledge and experience across our business, he is the right person to lead this ambitious and long-term initiative."

The business services unit will be active from 1 October. Eusman will be succeeded at Heineken France by Marc Busain, currently managing director of Heineken's Egyptian business, Al Ahram Beverages.

Cost controls helped Heineken to increase net profits by 29% in the first half of 2010, offsetting weak beer sales in key European countries. The brewer achieved EUR104m (US$131.5m) in savings during the half-year through its Total Cost Management scheme, which is now at the half-way stage in its three-year term and has achieved a total EUR259m in savings since January 2009.

Heineken's chief financial officer, René Hooft Graafland, said that a strong proportion of savings came from improved wholesale arrangements and efficiency gains in day-to-day business.