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Heineken raises forecasts slightly

THE HAGUE, Oct 28 – Dutch brewing giant Heineken on Wednesday raised its 2009 profit forecasts slightly after a positive third quarter when sales held steady.

Heineken said it now expected "organic net profit growth to (be in) low double-digit for the full year 2009, versus a previous forecast of at least high single digit."

The company said this reflected a positive three months to September when operating profit showed a double-digit gain despite the adverse impact of currency changes.

The dollar has come under great pressure in recent months as investors seek higher returns elsewhere, with the euro rising some 20 percent against the US unit to spark concerns that eurozone exports could be hit.

Heineken said third quarter sales slipped 0.4 percent to 4.07 billion euros (6.04 billion dollars). In the first six months of the year, sales were up 11.5 percent from a year earlier to 7.15 billion euros.

However, first half profit was down 10.5 percent at 483 million euros.

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