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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Heineken returns to growth in Western Europe in first quarter

AMSTERDAM - 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 per cent.

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 per cent 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 per cent to 1.51 billion euros.

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