Heineken raises savings target from S&N assets

AMSTERDAM - Heineken NV on Friday raised expected savings from its joint takeover of brewer Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) by 30 percent but expressed doubt whether the deal would benefit earnings per share by 2009.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Fri 22 Aug 2008, 3:05 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:56 AM

After a review of its new S&N assets, the Dutch brewer now forecast cost synergies of 145 million pounds ($271 million) as opposed to an earlier figure of 120 million over the next four years, sending shares up 1.5 percent.

Heineken, which took over S&N with Danish brewer Carlsberg earlier this year, said operations it gained in Britain, Ireland, Portugal, Belgium and the United States, would add value by 2012 although declining consumer confidence had cast doubt on whether these assets would benefit earnings per share by 2009, it added.

The credit crisis, waning consumer confidence, and smoking bans have all taken their toll on beer sales in western Europe and the United States -- key markets for Heineken.

‘It is difficult to say if this is good or bad news,’ Rabo Securities analysts said in a note.

A 30 percent increase in the savings target is good but the statement that the company is no longer sure whether the deal will be accretive to earnings per share by 2009 is negative, they added.

Analyst Thijs Berkelder at Petercam said the extra synergies could amount to 0.8-0.9 euros per share, which might compensate for ‘not so easy volume developments in western Europe in the past few months.’

Shares traded at 31.82 euros by 0758 GMT, outperforming the DJ Stoxx European food & beverages index, which was down 0.1 percent.

Heineken will report first-half results next Wednesday. The world's biggest alcoholic drinks group Diageo also reports on Thursday.

Both should provide key insight into the health of developed western markets and how higher commodities and input prices are being absorbed.

Heineken stock has fallen by almost 30 percent since the start of the year after investors criticised the 7.8 billion pound joint takeover for increasing Heineken's exposure to slower-growing markets of western Europe.

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