Heineken warned economic woes had hit beer sales, with the UK understood to
have turned in a flat performance during the first half of 2012.
The Dutch group -- which makes Foster's, Newcastle Brown Ale and John Smith's -- said Western Europe had also been affected by the poor weather. UK cider sales are thought to have been particularly subdued thanks to the rainy start to the summer.
Heineken's interim sales showed a marginal increase across Western Europe and are expected to remain 'subdued' throughout the second half as the UK recession and eurozone crisis take their toll.
Sales of beer across the wider business performed better -- up 3.3pc -- thanks to more robust demand across emerging markets and the US, with Heineken cheering an "excellent" first half from Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Americas regions.
Higher raw materials costs offset the sales growth, leaving interim underlying net profits 4pc down on an organic basis, to pounds sterling 556.5m. Full-year net profits are expected to remain in line with 2011.
Heineken's troubles across Europe highlight the importance of its struggle to gain full control of Tiger brewer Asia Pacific Breweries as it battles to fight off bid interest from rival Thai Beverage.
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