The Hague: Heineken on Wednesday posted a 2.6 billion euro ($2 billion) jump in year-on-year net profit three-quarters into 2021, but reported a major slump in beer sales in Asia markets because of Covid-19 restrictions.Net profit for the first nine months was up to 3.082 billion euros ($3.5 billion) as opposed to 396 million euros last year and 1.66 billion in 2019, the world’s number two brewer said in a statement.

But the profits were boosted by an exceptional gain of 1.3 billion euros from a remeasurement to fair value of a previously held equity interest in United Breweries in India — and full year expectations remained below that of 2019.

Heineken took control of United Breweries — which makes India’s popular Kingfisher brand — in July, pushing its holding to 61.5 percent from 46.5 percent before.

Overall beer volumes grew by four percent since the start of the year, but the Amsterdam-based brewer saw a 37.4 percent dip in key markets such as Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam in the third quarter.

“As anticipated, our Asia Pacific region was deeply impacted by the pandemic,” Heineken chief executive Dolf van den Brink said, adding “we see the first signs of recovery.”

Heineken continued to show strong growth in sales of its low and alcohol-free beers, particularly in Brazil, Britain, Mexico and the US, it said.

But Van den Brink said that markets remained “volatile and we are responding accordingly.”

“Therefore, our expectations stay unchanged, with full year results remaining below 2019,” he said.

Heineken’s share price dipped by around two percent in early trade on the Amsterdam stock exchange’s AEX index.

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