Heineken released its Q1 results yesterday

Heineken released its Q1 results yesterday

Heineken's departing CFO has called for clarity in Indonesia after a ban on beer sales in convenience stores cut first-quarter volumes by a third.

René Hooft Graafland, who will leave the Dutch brewer tomorrow, said that Indonesia is a "pearl" in Heineken's portfolio, but that the ban has caused confusion. In Q1 results released yesterday, Heineken's volumes in the country plunged by about 30%, according to Hooft Graafland.

"The small stores have been hesitant to stock up because of the lack of clarity," the CFO said. "No one knows if the small street kiosks are also part of the ban or whether it's just the mini-marts, so the impact on our Q1 was quite substantial."

Hooft Graafland added: "We hope there will be clarity on where you can sell beer, and hopefully the effect will be less pronounced than in the first quarter."

He said Heineken has "a couple of levers we can pull" including talking with the Government. Hooft Graafland also acknowledged that there is opposition to the ban from within the country. "Indonesia values its investment climate and wants to be open," he said. "It doesn't want to be seen as a Muslim state."

The legislation, which came into effect last week, outlaws the sale of alcohol between 1% and 5% abv in convenience stores. Restaurants and supermarkets will still be allowed to sell alcohol, and the trade ministry has exempted the tourist island of Bali from the ban.