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Heineken profits across Americas and in warm Europe

BRUSSELS - Heineken NV, the world's third-largest brewer, on Wednesday said revenues and beer volumes grew by more than expected in the third quarter, driven by strong sales across the Americas and by a warmer summer in much of Europe.

BRUSSELS - Heineken NV, the world's third-largest brewer, on Wednesday said revenues and beer volumes grew by more than expected in the third quarter, driven by strong sales across the Americas and by a warmer summer in much of Europe.

The Dutch brewer, whose Heineken lager is Europe's top seller, said revenues grew 8 percent in the third quarter to 5.51 billion euros ($6.08 billion), ahead of a Reuters poll of 10 analysts which had produced an average forecast of 5.31 billion.

Heineken has benefited from a steady recovery in Europe and growth of sales and margins in emerging markets, such as Vietnam and Mexico. However, its performance has been overshadowed in recent weeks by global leader AB InBev's impending takeover of world number two SABMiller.

Still, Heineken's shares have risen some 36 percent in the year-to-date, the strongest gain in the sector, even considering the recent jump in SABMiller stock due to AB InBev's approaches.

Heineken said it sold far more beer in Mexico and Brazil and also succeeded in shifting consumers to the higher-priced Heineken lager. In Europe, volumes rose 7 percent largely due to better weather, such as higher temperatures in France and Italy and compared with 2014 when Austria for example was hit by flooding.

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Heineken maintained its forecast of revenue growth, with volumes rising at a slower pace than in 2014 and weighted more to the second half.

The company also targets annual improvements in operating margin of 40 basis points, although said it would not achieve this in 2015 due to the disposal of its Mexican packaging business.

However, it now saw slightly lower tax and interest rates, while the positive translational impact of exchange rates would be reduced. For operating profit the benefit would be about 75 million euros this year, down from the 130 million euros previously foreseen. 

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