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Low oil prices are hitting Heineken in petroleum-producing but the chief executive of the world's third-largest brewer told CNBC that the company and its key brand of lager still have "miles to grow."
Reporting full-year results for 2015 on Wednesday, Heineken increased its dividend by more than expected, forecasting higher revenues and profits in 2016.
In its earnings release, the brewer said consolidated beer volume grew 2.3 percent in 2015 with positive growth in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe "offsetting weaker volume in Africa, Middle East & Eastern Europe."
Looking ahead, the company said it expected to deliver more profit growth "despite an increasingly challenging external environment." Speaking to CNBC after the results were released, Heineken's Chief Executive Jean-François van Boxmeer explained which challenges the company faced.
"Low oil prices in oil-producing countries are affecting us very obviously, like in Nigeria," he told CNBC Europe's "Squawk Box."
"Money flows because of the oil and often delays in civil servants being paid translates into purchasing power diminishing and the market is rather under pressure because of that but still, seeing the oil price fall in a country like Nigeria, we're pretty resilient."
"We have a very diversified portfolio geographically and that spread provides a natural hedge against these sorts of crises," van Boxmeer said.
The brewer of Europe's top lager Heineken, Tiger and Sol said it would propose a dividend of 1.30 euros per share, above the 1.10 it paid out last year and beyond the 1.26 expected in a Reuters poll of 14 analysts.
Van Boxmeer said the company, which owns around 200 brands, would still focus on its key brand, Heineken.
"We stick with a heavy attention on the Heineken brand which is still growing above our portfolio average and still in the long-term has miles to grow. Next to that, in a number of markets, we do invest more and more in craft line extensions of existing brands."
"But for this company, the common denominator and still the strongest engine growth will remain the Heineken brand for quite a while to go."
For the group as a whole, net profit before one-offs rose 16 percent to 2.048 billion euros ($2.31 billion) broadly in line with analyst expectations of 2.052 billion euros.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Danish brewer Carlsberg reported a pretax loss of 1.73 billion Danish crowns ($261.8 million) after it booked impairment and restructuring charges of around 10 billion crowns.
Chief Executive Cees 't Hart said in a statement that 2015 had been "a mixed year" for the Carlsberg Group.
"While our Asian business continues to perform strongly, our businesses in Western and Eastern Europe had a challenging year. As a consequence of the strong Asian results, however, 2015 marked the inflection point when the growth markets of Asia accounted for a larger part of the Group than Eastern Europe."
Hart insisted that the business could bounce back: "I'm confident that the strengths of our business in terms of leading market positions, an attractive geographic profile, well-balanced portfolios of strong international and local brands, and committed employees provide us with a strong base upon which to build a organically growing business."
- Reuters contributed reporting to this story.
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