Coronavirus: Crisis cost Heineken €300 million

Coronavirus: Crisis cost Heineken €300 million
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Dutch brewer Heineken has reported serious losses in the first half of this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the company said.

Heineken posted losses of €300 million in the first half, largely the result of a write-off of assets worth €550 million. The brewery owns beer companies across the world, including the Alken-Maes stable of beers in Belgium, which includes Cristal, Maes, Ciney and Mort Subite.

The group is the second-largest brewer in the world, which means its results were hurt by the various lockdowns taking place worldwide at the height of the crisis. Turnover was down 16.4%, and volumes of beer down 11.5%.

While lockdown affected bar sales, shops sales could absorb some of the damage. However exports were also hard-hit by the crisis, and that affected some of the special brands not brewed locally.

Prior to releasing its latest results, Heineken had already revised its outlook for the whole year downward. At the same time, though, the company expressed confidence for the future. Following a deep point in April, June has already seen some recovery as clients start to rebuild their stocks.

The most damage was seen to volume sales in North and South America, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. In many places which happen to be major markets for Heineken, public life came to a complete or almost complete standstill. Asia was less badly affected and saw an earlier recovery, especially in Vietnam, which is a huge customer for Heineken and beers of all makes.

As a reaction to the losses, the brewer has now implemented cost-cutting measures, a process which is not yet complete, the company said, without giving details. Final figures for the first half will be announced on August 3.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

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