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Heineken sales growth lower than expected at start of year

Heineken, the world's third largest brewer, reported lower than expected increases in beer volumes and revenue on Thursday, with a pick-up in Africa and parts of Europe partly offset by softness in Asia and weakness in Russia.

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The brewer of Europe's best-selling Heineken lager and also Sol, Tiger and Strongbow cider said consolidated beer volumes rose 1.5 percent on a like-for-like basis to 38.2 million hectolitres, below the 40.3 million hectolitres average expected in a Reuters poll of seven banks and brokers.

Consolidated revenue was up 3.4 percent to 4.04 billion euros, again below the 4.24 billion euros forecast in the Reuters poll.

Heineken, the largest seller of beer in Europe, repeated its forecast that revenue should grow in 2014 on a like-for-like basis and excluding currency effects. It grew by just 0.1 percent in 2013.