UPDATE 1-Heineken hikes dividend, upbeat for 2016
(Adds details on unit performance, outlook)
BRUSSELS Feb 10 (Reuters) - Heineken, the world's third-largest brewer, on Wednesday increased its dividend by more than expected and forecast higher revenues and profits in 2016.
The brewer of Heineken, Europe's top lager, Tiger and Sol said it would propose a dividend of 1.30 euros per share, above the 1.10 it paid out last year and beyond the 1.26 expected in a Reuters poll of 14 analysts.
Though the group warned that emerging markets could be volatile in the new financial year, it guided for 2016 revenue and profit growth, with margin expansion seen in line with its medium term target of 40 basis points.
In 2015 the group grew revenues in all of its markets, though operating profit fell in Africa and the Middle East mainly because of fewer tourists visiting the region and economic downturn in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Operating profit grew fastest in the Americas, especially in Mexico and Brazil where the group raised prices and sold more premium beers.
For the group as a whole, 2015 net profit before one-offs rose 16 percent to 2.048 billion euros ($2.31 billion) broadly in line with analyst expectations of 2.052 billion euros. ($1 = 0.8857 euros) (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Julia Fioretti and Muralikumar Anantharaman)
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