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Heineken boosted by Tiger in Asia as cold hits Europe

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Strong demand for Heineken's Tiger brand in Asia helped the world's second-largest brewer overcome the effects of cold weather in Europe in the first quarter.

[LONDON] Strong demand for Heineken's Tiger brand in Asia helped the world's second-largest brewer overcome the effects of cold weather in Europe in the first quarter.

Beer shipments rose 4.3 per cent in the period, the Amsterdam-based company said Wednesday. That was above a company-provided analyst consensus of 4.1 per cent but below the 4.8 per cent Bloomberg-compiled estimate.

Tiger has been driving growth in Asia, where Heineken's biggest markets include Vietnam and Cambodia. That helped moderate weakness in Europe, where mass-market lagers are losing ground to fruitier beers such as sour brews and pale ales. The company reiterated that it anticipates an increase in sales and profit in 2018. 

"Performance in the first quarter was in line with expectations," chief executive officer Jean-Francois van Boxmeer said in a statement. Cold weather negatively impacted demand in Europe, with declines across France, Spain and Austria, he said.

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Heineken, the second-biggest brewer after Anheuser-Busch InBev, is expanding in Africa, where it has acquired Stellenbrau, a beer maker based in South Africa's western Cape, submitted a bid for a local Coca-Cola bottler and built a brewery in Ivory Coast to take on market leader Castel.

Profit fell to 260 million euros (S$421.3 million) from 293 million euros a year earlier on a reported basis, the company said.

BLOOMBERG