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Heineken first half profits up 29pc

THE HAGUE, Aug 25 – Dutch brewing giant Heineken reported Wednesday net profits of 621 million euros for the first half of 2010, beating analysts expectations with a 29 percent rise from the same period last year.

The firm said in a statement that an increase in beer sales in Africa and Asia as well as cost-cutting measures explained the rise in profits achieved during difficult trading conditions elsewhere in the world.

"Trading conditions remained challenging in Europe and the USA," said Heineken CEO Jean-Francois van Boxmeer.

Heineken indicated that it remained concerned about those weak markets despite better-than-expected first semester results which beat an average forecast of 584 million euros net profits by analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

"Heineken remains cautious on the development of beer consumption in Europe and the USA due to continued weak consumer spending and planned austerity measures across many countries," the firm said in a statement.

Heineken, Europe\’s biggest brewer, sells more than 200 beer and cider labels including Amstel, Cruzcampo, Birra Moretti, Foster\’s, Strongbow and Tiger.

It employed 55,000 people around the world last year, and operated 125 breweries in more than 70 countries, selling 159 million hectolitres of beer.

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