(Bloomberg) -- Heineken NV, the world’s second-largest brewer, reported full-year earnings that beat analysts’ estimates, helped by the fastest sales growth of its namesake brand in a decade.
- Adjusted operating profit rose 6.4 percent on an organic basis to 3.87 billion euros ($4.4 billion) in 2018, beating the average analyst estimate of 3.84 billion euros. Full-year beer volume rose 4.2 percent on an organic basis, the Dutch company said. Analysts expected 4 percent growth.
- The rise of low-and-no alcohol beers is seeing demand for Heineken 0.0 surge, helping the brewer’s flagship brand boost volumes 7.7 percent. The brewer expanded the non-alcoholic brand to 38 countries and plans to add more markets this year.
- A key driver of gains was Brazil, where Heineken became the second-largest brewer in 2017 when it bought Kirin Holdings Co.’s business there for about 2.2 billion real ($590 million). Other markets that had double-digit growth included South Africa, Russia and the U.K.
- Higher input costs has been a theme for major consumer-goods companies reporting this quarter including Unilever and Carlsberg. Heineken reported that profit growth was partly due to running its business more efficiently as commodity expenses rise.
- The stock fell 11 percent in 2018.
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