UPDATE 2-Heineken gains from Tiger in Asia, resilient Europe
* Sees revenue, volume growth picking up in H2
* Asian, central/eastern European margins expand sharply
* Shares hit three-month high (Adds shares, analyst comment)
By Philip Blenkinsop
BRUSSELS, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Heineken NV, the world's third-largest brewer, announced better-than-expected earnings for the first half on Monday, helped by robust growth of its Tiger brand in Vietnam and rising beer sales in Mexico and parts of Europe.
The Dutch brewer, whose Heineken lager is Europe's top seller, increased profit on a like-for-like basis in all regions except Africa, but also saw a squeeze on U.S. margins. It said it expected faster sales growth in the second half of the year but maintained its full-year forecast for revenue growth, which will be slower than in 2014.
Heineken shares surged by as much as 4.5 percent to a three-month high after the results and were among the strongest performers in the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European stocks.
"It's a positive mixed bag. Some margin pressure in Africa and Americas, but central and eastern and western Europe good against tough comparables," said Trevor Stirling, beverage analyst at Bernstein Securities.
Stirling has an "outperform" rating on the stock, with potential for further emerging markets gains relative to larger rivals AB InBev and SABMiller, whose emerging market progress, he said, was largely priced in. Continuación...