A strong performance across western Europe and Asia offset declining sales in Africa and eastern Europe and helped the firm achieve first-half operating profits slightly ahead of expectations.
Overall beer volumes at the group, which owns Edinburgh’s Caledonian brewery and is also behind brands including Sol and Amstel, were up by just over 4 per cent but cider volumes saw a double-digit rise with what the company described as “accelerating momentum” in the second quarter.
In the UK, the success of Strongbow’s Dark Fruit and Cloudy Apple varieties and the Old Mout brand underpinned growth in cider.
Overall sales at the group rose by 4.7 per cent to €10.1bn (£8.6bn) and operating profits before exceptional items were up by 12.6 per cent to €1.7bn.
Chief executive Jean-François van Boxmeer said the results reflected a “very good first quarter” and a “solid second quarter”.
“We are convinced that our well-balanced global footprint, sustained investment in brands and innovation, and focus on the premium segment continue to give us a unique competitive advantage to win in our markets,” he said.
“Despite adverse economic conditions in some developing markets and currency headwinds, we expect full year margin expansion in line with our medium term guidance.”