Heineken can be through its dry zone
(The author is a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. The opinions expressed are their own.)
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) – Heineken suffers from a beer drought in Asia. Europe’s leading brewer sold 5.1% less beer https://www.theheinekencompany.com/newsroom/heineken-nv-reports-on-2021-third-quarter-trading in the three months to September . The drop, which was twice as severe as analysts expected, was mainly driven by Asia, where new regional travel lockdowns and restrictions caused quarterly beer volume to drop by one-third. In Vietnam, a key market, beer sales have more than halved. This does not bode well for competitors Carlsberg and Anheuser-Busch InBev, which have yet to report quarterly sales.
There is light at the end of the bar. Vietnam has been gradually lifting restrictions since mid-September and travel to Asia is expected to improve as vaccination rates rise. Still, for managing director Dolf van den Brink, it will still be a slow journey. Sales are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023, Refinitiv estimates. Soaring raw material costs will also put pressure on margins. It is probably too early to drink for a full recovery. (By Lisa Jucca)
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