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Heineken returns to growth in Western Europe

Thursday - 4/24/2014, 4:10am  ET

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- Heineken NV says it has returned to growth in its crucial Western Europe market in the first quarter, after a long period of stagnation. Organic sales -- a figure which strips out the effects of currencies and acquisitions -- grew by 3.4 percent.

However, the Dutch-based brewer's reported sales fell due to the strong euro and because its Eastern European sales shrank. Earnings were lower because of one-off gains in the same period a year ago.

Net profit was 143 million euros ($197 million), against 227 million euros a year ago. Sales fell 2.6 percent to 4.08 billion euros.

Heineken said that like-for-like sales in Western Europe, where it is the largest brewer, were up 1.8 percent to 1.51 billion euros.

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