NETHERLANDS – Heineken, the world’s second largest brewer, reported a 4.37% increase in net profit to €1.667 billion (US$1.86 billion) during the nine months period to end September buoyed by strong growth in Asia-Pacific region.

Heineken benefited from a 13.9% growth in sales from the Asia-Pacific region offsetting sluggish beer sales in America, which fell by 0.5% with a notable sharp decline in the United States and a slight decline in Brazil.

The Tiger, Sol and Strongbow cider owner associated the decline to the negative impact of the phasing of sales last year, the continuous decline of Tecate and shortages of 24 oz cans.

In addition, the Dutch brewer said sales of cheaper beers had declined after a price rise, while volumes of higher-priced beers such as Heineken, Amstel and Devassa grew by a double-digit percentage.

During the third quarter, consolidated beer volumes rose by 2.3% year-on-year to 64.2 million hectolitres boosted by the performance of its international premium beer portfolios especially in developing markets.

In Vietnam, Heineken’s second most profitable market, the company recorded a double-digit percentage rise as the company pushes deeper into the country.

In Mexico, the company’s largest market, sales were up by a low single-digit percentage, helped by the launch of low calorie Amstel Ultra.

Heineken’s beer sales in Europe grew by 1.6%, against expectations of a decline. Growth in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe was also 1.6%.

Heineken brand volume increased 7.4% organically in the third quarter, with growth in all regions except a 1% decline in Asia Pacific. The brand grew double-digit in Brazil, South Africa, the UK, Nigeria, Romania and Germany.

 “During the third quarter, our beer portfolio delivered solid volume growth of 2.3% in the context of a challenging comparison base given a very good summer last year,” said Jean-Francois van Boxmeer, CEO of Heineken.

“We are seeing increased volatility across a number of our markets, which we assume to continue for the rest of the year. We continue to invest for the long-term benefit of all our stakeholders.”

The brewer forecast operating profit this year would be at the lower end of its previous guidance placing it at 4% increase on a like-for-like basis, from the previous forecast of a mid-single-digit percentage growth.