Beer demand drying up in western markets

Beer demand drying up in western markets

Heineken has reported a rise in underlying organic profits, but the brewer said it plans to cut more jobs globally in 2010 as consumer confidence struggles to recover from the economic downturn.

Underlying net profits rose by 4% to EUR1.055bn for the 12 months to the end of December, compared to EUR1.013bn in 2008, Heineken said today (23 February).

Price increases helped net sales to a near-3% rise for the year, to EUR14.7bn. But, like-for-like net sales slipped by 0.2% for the year as group volumes fell 5%.

Sluggish demand for beer and consumers trading down to cheaper products during 2009 are themes set to continue in 2010, as national economies struggle to recover, said the Netherlands-based brewer.

The firm will continue to "aggressively pursue" its three-year Total Cost Management programme, which aims to cut operating costs globally.

"Heineken expects a further organic decline in the number of employees," the brewer added.

Price increases will be less effective in 2010, it warned.

"Price increases will be at levels well below those of 2009. However, Heineken aims to continue passing on excise duty increases through higher sales prices," said the brewer.

The group said that it will focus on improving profitability of newly acquired businesses, which includes FEMSA Cerveza.

For the full announcement, click here.