Heineken sees higher profits but Carlsberg struggles

Heineken bottles on factory line Image copyright EPA

Two of Europe's biggest brewers have posted contrasting results in the face of challenging trading conditions.

Dutch brewer Heineken has increased its dividends on the back of net 2015 profits of €1.89bn (£1.47bn; $2.13bn), up 25% on the previous year.

Heineken said it would propose a dividend of €1.30 per share, above €1.10 paid last year.

Meanwhile, Danish brewer Carlsberg saw an annual loss of $261.8m (£181m), better than analysts had expected.

"Mixed year"

Carlsberg estimates it will generate "low-single-digit" organic sales growth in 2016 .

It reported an unexpected net profit for the fourth quarter of 78m Danish kroner (£8m) compared with a net profit of 168m Danish kroner in the same period a year ago.

In November, the company announced a restructuring programme and job cuts.

It said its Asian operations were offsetting losses in Russia and Eastern Europe.

Image copyright Reuters

Carlsberg gained control of Russia's top beer brand, Batika, in 2008, but it has been hit by tighter regulations and Russia's weakening economy.

Its chief executive, Cees 't Hart, said in a statement: "2015 was a mixed year for the Carlsberg Group. While our Asian business continues to perform strongly, our business in Western and Eastern Europe had a challenging year."

The company said it will unveil its new strategy for growth to investors on 16 March.

Volatile conditions

Heineken said it expected to deliver further organic revenue and profit growth, despite an increasingly challenging external environment.

Its chief executive and chairman, Jean-Francois van Boxmeer, said: "Whilst we expect further volatility in emerging markets and deflationary pressures in 2016, we are confident that we will again deliver top and bottom line growth, as well as margin expansion in line with our guidance."

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