Beer maker Heineken, the world’s third largest brewer, beat sales expectations in the first quarter, thanks to strong growth in China and Vietnam.
The Dutch company said on Wednesday that beer sales grew 7% across all regions, while the “premium segment” grew 4.8%.
Chinese and Vietnamese New Years pushed strong sales in that region, while Indonesia grew by double digits. Organic beer sales in Asia were up 23%.
Heineken owns Tiger beer, which is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages on the continent.
The report added that Mexico and Brazil also had strong showings, thanks to its Tecate Light and Dos Equis brands.
One market that remained tough to crack was Africa, though.
“Underlying trading conditions remain tough and the weaker consumer environment, due to the low global oil price, continues to drive negative brand mix,” the report said.
“It is becoming increasingly challenging to obtain hard currency in the market, and the uncertainty regarding a possible devaluation of the Naira continues to impact the business adversely.”
Net profit in the quarter was €265 million (£209 million; $301 million), down from €579 million, but Heineken said that was down to an exceptional post tax gain of €379 million from the sale of a Mexican packaging unit.
Jean-François van Boxmeer, Heineken’s CEO, said the results were strong despite tough currency markets and economic uncertainty:
“This has been a good first quarter supported by a strong Vietnamese and Chinese New Year period and the earlier timing of Easter. There was good volume growth in Americas and Europe. In Africa Middle East & Eastern Europe, volume growth reflected easier comparatives in Nigeria, and the region remains challenging. Our full year expectations remain unchanged. Adverse currency development continues to weigh on results and foreign exchange markets remain volatile.”
Heineken shares rose sharply on the news before stabilising at €8.54 as of 8:30 am GMT: