UPDATE 2-Strong start to year takes Heineken shares to record high
* First quarter volumes up 7 pct and beat forecasts
* Shares hit record high
* Nigeria grows in first quarter but concerns for future (Adds shares, analyst comment, more on currencies)
By Philip Blenkinsop
BRUSSELS, April 20 (Reuters) - Brewer Heineken NV sold far more beer than expected in the first three months of the year, helped by growth over the Vietnamese and Chinese New Years and an earlier Easter, sending its shares to a record high.
The brewer of Heineken, Europe's best-selling lager, Tiger and Sol retained its full-year forecast, but said currency developments would weigh more on results and warned of difficulties in Nigeria because of a lower oil price.
The Dutch brewer is the third player in the market but will be dwarfed by the combination of its two largest rivals when market leader Anheuser-Busch InBev's completes a $100 billion-plus deal to buy SABMiller.
Heineken shares rose as much as 4.6 percent to an all-time high of 86.95 euros. At 0845 GMT, they were up 1.2 percent and still among the strongest in the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European stocks.
"A lot of the good elements have converged in Q1, but they are keeping their forecast and are cautioning that Q2 may not be as good," said Andrew Holland, beverage analyst at Societe Generale. Continuación...