Heineken drinks to a frothy rise in its profits

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The Independent Online

Heineken has grabbed market share in the UK, with the brand growing 14 per cent in the year. The group is optimistic that business will be boosted by events such as Euro 2012 football tournament, the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics.

However, the brewer also warned beer prices are set to go up this year, as it looks to pass on a 6 per cent increase in its costs per hectolitre as the price of malted barley rises.

Heineken, the world's third-largest brewer and the official beer sponsor of the Olympics, owns 1,380 British pubs after buying 918 from Royal Bank of Scotland last year.

Rene Hooft Graafland, its finance director, said: "The British pub has a great future. It is a great place to be. There has been a shake-out and many of the weak performers have gone. There is, of course, a shift in habits to off-premises drinking but this is happening everywhere, not just the UK. But the good pubs, those with good food, a good location and good guys behind the bar and, of course with the best Heineken beer,will succeed."

Heineken, which also owns Amstel, Desperados and Strongbow cider, said 2011 net profits beforeone-offs rose 9.2 per cent to €1.58bn (£1.32bn), ahead of forecasts.