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Heineken Numbers Surprisingly Up in Q1

Heineken sales were up more than expected in the first quarter of 2012, attributing 4.7% growth of beer volume to a push to sell more premium brands.

Trevor Stirling, an analyst for Bernstein Securities, told Reuters he was encouraged by 4.5 % volume growth in U.S. and  Mexico -- where it bought FEMSA Cerveza in 2010. Despite the move in the Americas, 45% of its revenue is still coming from Western Europe.  The company is also making a push into Africa and Latin America.

Along with expansion into Mexico, Heineken is now brewed by more than 140 breweries in 70 countries.

Some factors that could have contributed to the strong quarter include fixed costs in high-inflation markets.

It’s also benefiting from the expansion of its brands. While many consumers might not recognize it on the lables, Desperados, Strongbow, Amstel and Sol now fall under the Heineken umbrella.

Heineken is one of the first major brewers to report Q1 results for 2012 as Anheuser-Bush InBev is expected to announce its earnings later this month.

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