Megabrewers beat forecasts, but fear lockdowns

Bars around the world have been forced to close, or find news ways of operating.

And that’s showing up in earnings from the big brewers.

On Wednesday (October 28) the world’s number two said it beat forecasts in the June-September quarter.

It benefited from a surprise jump in sales in the Americas.

That helped Heineken limit a drop in volumes to 1.9% over the period, when analysts had expected something about three times worse.

But profit margins took a hit as people shifted from bar to store purchases.

And the beer maker said the coming months could be very volatile, with more national restrictions in prospect.

Germany, for one, is reportedly likely to close bars and restaurants again.

Now Heineken says it will cut costs and restructure its head and regional offices.

It aims to reduce personnel costs by 20%.

World number three Carlsberg reported numbers late the previous day.

It too beat forecasts, thanks to strong sales in China and Russia.

As a result, the Danish firm said this year’s profits would decline less than it previously expected.

But volumes at bars and restaurants were down a fifth on last year, and the firm warned of increasing pressure in coming quarters.

On a down day for broader markets, Carlsberg shares were still in the green by early afternoon.

Heineken fell over 4%.