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just on Call - Heineken to stay "active player" in beer M&A - CFO

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Heineken will remain an “active player” in seeking acquisitions, despite having fended off an approach itself from SABMiller, according to the Dutch brewer's CFO.

Heineken reported its year-to-date numbers today

Heineken reported its year-to-date numbers today

Speaking to analysts today, following the group's nine-month trading update, Rene Hooft Graafland said that the Heineken family had rejected SABMiller's offer as it wanted to  “preserve the heritage and identity” of the company. At the time, Heineken said the approach was “non-actionable”.

“Consolidation has been a big thing in our industry and will certainly not stop," said Graafland today. "We have been an active player in that consolidation and we have the intentions to stay an active player.” Heineken's last major play was its full takeover of Tiger brewer Asia Pacific Breweries two years ago

Earlier today, the Dutch firm reported flat nine-month group volumes and a 1.5% dip in sales.

In its Africa and Middle East unit, sales rose 4.1% on an organic basis, while volumes rose by 8.1%. However, in the key market of Nigeria, the brewer noted that a “prolonged” wet season had affected the country's beer sector.

Graafland admitted that the company's price mix was down in Nigeria, due to the “growth of the affordable segment”. However, he added the company was hoping to see a boost in Q4 from the build-up to next year's elections. “The whole election vibe is not yet happening,” he said.

In Russia, Graafland said there was “still a lot of uncertainty around the regulatory framework” in the country. Its rivals, Carlsberg and Anheuser-Busch InBevhave been forced to close breweries in the country due to higher taxes and new regualtions around beer.  However, Graafland flagged that the group has a relatively small footprint in Russia and claimed its strategy of focussing on premium brands was “performing very well”.


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