Heineken NV (HEINY) shares posted solid early gains in Amsterdam Wednesday after the brewer said first quarter volumes increased thanks to solid activity in Asian and European markets.
The world's second-largest brewer said beer volumes rose 1% in the first three months of 2017 compared to the same time last year, boosted by an 8.3% volume increase in the Asia Pacific region that offset declines in EMEA and the Americas. Like-for-like volumes were up 0.6%, Heineken said. The volume figures, when compared to the final three of last year, appear unimpressive, but Heineken offered the caveat that the first quarter is "seasonally less significant in terms of both volume and profit to full-year Heineken results and noted that reported net profit in the quarter was €293 million ($314 million) compared with €265 million in 2016.
Heineken shares rose more than 1% in the opening hour of trading in Amsterdam to change hands at €81.39 each in Amsterdam, extending their three-month gain to just under 15%.
Beer volume growth was hit in the U.K. by a pricing spat between the Dutch brewer and Tesco plc (TSCDY) , the country's largest supermarket, which pulled half of Heineken's brands off its shelves after the brewer demanded a price increase due to the fall in the pound.
"Performance in the first quarter was in line with expectations, delivering volume growth against strong comparatives last year," said CEO Jean-Francois van Boxmeer. "Asia Pacific continued to outperform and volume in Europe was solid. In Africa, Middle East & Eastern Europe market conditions remain challenging, adversely impacting volume. In Americas, whilst Mexican volume was good this was more than offset by weaker volume in Brazil. Our full year expectations remain unchanged."