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Heineken doubles profit, but warns of rising costs By Reuters 



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Bottles of Heineken beer are seen at a supermarket during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Bangkok, Thailand, October 12, 2020. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/File Photo

By Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -Heineken, the world’s second-largest brewer, reported first-half earnings above expectations on Monday, but warned of weakness in the rest of the year as costs eat into margins and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hit key markets.

The maker of Europe’s top-selling lager Heineken (OTC:), Tiger and Sol, said operating profit before one-offs doubled to 1.63 billion euros ($1.93 billion), compared with the average forecast in a company-compiled poll of 1.22 billion euros.

Dolf van den Brink, who has been chief executive for a year, said the company was pleased with a strong set of first-half results, but said there was reason for caution, with results expected to remain below pre-pandemic levels in 2021 as a whole.

COVID-19 would remain a factor, with the biggest impact in key markets in Africa and Asia. Rising commodity costs would also start affecting Heineken in the second half of 2021 and would have a “material effect” in 2022.

Heineken previously forecast that market conditions should improve in the second half of 2021, depending on vaccine roll-outs.

($1 = 0.8427 euros)

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