• Profits jump 20%
  • Beer sales also rise
  • Tough trading in Thailand, NZ

Asia Pacific Breweries, the joint venture between Heineken and Fraser & Neave, has reported a solid rise in full-year profits and higher beer sales.

Net profits before one-time gains rose by 20% for the 12 months to the end of September, to S$157.9m (US$113.8m), compared to the previous year, Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) said today (12 November). Including a one-off gain of S$14.4m, as well as a one-off charge of S$8m last year, net profits jumped 39% to S$172.4m.

The rise in profits was accompanied by a 2% rise in both sales by volume and value for the year. Net sales totalled S$2bn.

APB CEO Roland Pirmez said: "2009 will be remembered as a difficult year with strong competition in almost all our markets amidst a largely lacklustre economic backdrop.

"Nevertheless, we managed to sell 2.2% more beer than the previous year which contributed to a revenue growth of the same margin; made possible by continued brand investments and price adjustments in all our markets."

Profits were further boosted by "internal measures adopted to contain costs", Pirmez added.

APB said it expects markets to "remain challenging" and will continue to tighten operating costs.

The brewer's three main markets, Indochina, Papua New Guinea and home market Singapore, drove growth for the year.

However, Thailand and New Zealand were blackspots for the company. In Thailand, volume sales fell 17% for the year "due to prevailing market conditions arising from political unrest and regulatory restrictions on the consumption and advertising of alcoholic products", it said.

In New Zealand, APB said performance was "unsatisfactory". Profits before interest and tax in the country fell 62% for the year, due to lower volume sales, price competition, higher packaging costs and unfavourable exchange rates.

"Trading conditions are not expected to improve in the short term. Measures are in place to address the performance in New Zealand," said APB, without offering specific details.

For the full announcement, click here.