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Heineken CEO On Brewer's 'Tale Of Two Stories' During Pandemic

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Heineken CEO On Brewer's 'Tale Of Two Stories' During Pandemic

Beer maker Heineken N.V. (OTCQX: HEINY) is experiencing a "tale of two stories," as off-premise sales are rising at a double-digit rate, but the on-premise business that represents around 35% to 40% of total sales is "highly impacted" by the COVID-19 pandemic, Heineken CEO Dolf van den Brink said on CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe."

What Happened: The beer company reported Monday with financial results for the first half of the year.

Organic net revenue growth was down 16.4% over the same period last year, consolidated beer volume was down 11.5% and Heineken volume was down 2.5%.

Heineken expects its performance over the near-term to be akin to "one step forwards, two steps backward," van den Brink said during the CNBC interview. For example, the beer business showed a rebound in sales in June, only to be followed up with new lockdown measures in key markets like South Africa and Mexico, the CEO said. 

Heineken is seeing strong growth on the premium side of its portfolio, with the flagship Heineken brand performing "particularly well," he said.

This is consistent with a broader theme that brands that are more trustworthy are performing better than less trusted ones, van den Brink said. 

The alcohol-free beer Heineken "0.0" also saw growth in every region it's available in, the CEO said. 

"We will be really leaning into the parts of our portfolio and our channels where we see continued momentum." 

Why It's Important: Heineken did all it can to get its product to the consumer, including through an online channel, he said.

The company leveraged its European e-commerce platform, Beerwulf, in the quarter to great success, van den Brink said.

The business-to-consumer platform boasted more than 3 million visitors in the first half of the year and sales of its home draught systems more than doubled during the COVID-19 lockdowns, the CEO said. 

What's Next: Heineken withdrew its full-year outlook in April and continues to see a volatile and uncertain environment ahead.

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