Asia Pacific Breweries, the joint venture between Heineken and Fraser & Neave, has reported a 39% rise in net profits for the third quarter thanks to a one-off payment. 

Net profits rose to S$51.9m (US$36m) for the three months to the end of June, up by S$14.5m on the same quarter of 2008, Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) said today (7 August). The rise included a one-off gain of S$11m, paid in compensation for the termination of an unspecified business development project.

Net profits excluding one-off items fell by 4% for the quarter, to S$40.8m, the brewer said. Net sales for the three months rose by 2% to S$480.9m.

"Our performance in the third quarter is in-line with our expectations at such a time of uncertainty," said group CEO Roland Pirmez.

"There were many challenges in almost all our markets and stiff competition was prevalent. Despite this, group revenue inched 2% upwards due to price increases and volume improvements in several markets, owing to concerted brand driven activities."

Net sales for the first nine months of the brewer's fiscal year crept up by 1% to S$1.5bn, while net profits before exceptional items slipped by 1% to S$131.8m.

APB faced particular problems in the New Zealand beer market, due to falling consumption and tough economic conditions, it said. New Zealand beer sales by volume slipped 16% in the third quarter.

Pirmez said: "With uncertainty in the global economy impacting the markets in which we operate, the group expects trading conditions to remain challenging, particularly in New Zealand.

"APB will continue to optimise its brand portfolio to compete effectively amidst the difficult economic environment and capitalise on the varied consumer needs and trends as well as tighten control on operating costs."

Earlier this week, APB confirmed the closure of its intended Canadian importer, Tiger Canada.