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Heineken's half-yearly net profit up 1.6 per cent

But the Dutch brewer warns that the ongoing European economic downturn could affect demand for the rest of the year.

Heineken International, the world's third largest brewer, has reported a small year-on-year increase in net profits from €694m to €705m for the first half of 2012.

Net profit grew by 30 per cent to €783m (2011: €605m), including a post-tax book gain of €131m for the sale of a minority stake in a brewery in the Dominican Republic.

Revenue increased by 5 per cent to €8.77bn (2011: €8.35bn), while group beer volume grew by 3.8 per cent to 108 million hectolitres.

EBIT increased by 0.5 per cent reflecting a positive contribution from acquisitions and a favourable currency impact. On an organic basis, EBIT declined by 5.5 per cent, primarily due to planned capability building investments and higher input costs.

Jean-François van Boxmeer, chairman of the executive board and CEO of Heineken, said:

Our focus on delivering top-line growth continues to be successful with revenue increases across all regions and market share gains in several of our key markets. The Heineken brand again performed strongly in the international premium segment with organic volume growth of 6 per cent.

Our Africa and the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Americas regions all delivered an excellent top- and bottom-line performance. The solid growth of the Americas region is particularly noteworthy as it reflects the success of our strategic initiatives in the important US and Mexican beer markets. Although faced with a challenging economic environment and unfavourable weather, revenue in western Europe increased slightly in the first half of the year, whereas the central and eastern Europe region reported solid organic top-line growth.

Our global business services organisation and other efficiency initiatives have enabled us to generate €85m in savings under our total cost management programme. Despite this benefit, our profitability in the first half of the year was impacted by difficult trading conditions across Europe as well as higher input costs and planned capability investments.

In the second half, we expect continued top-line momentum to benefit from ongoing high-impact brand marketing as well as capital investments in higher growth markets. Full year net profit (beia) is expected to be broadly in line with last year, on an organic basis.