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What's going on?

Heineken’s struggling to keep a lid on its emotions like the rest of us: the world’s second-biggest brewer announced worse-than-expected earnings on Wednesday.

What does this mean?

With big nights out having turned into small nights in, Heineken sold less beer and made less profit than analysts were expecting last quarter. So it’s arguably no surprise that the company is looking to get back to pre-pandemic levels by cutting $2.5 billion in costs over the next two years – a plan that involves laying off nearly 10% of its global workforce. But even with that restructure in place, the profit margin it’s targeting by 2023 still fell short of analysts’ expectations – which might explain why investors sent its shares down 5%.

Why should I care?

The bigger picture: Carlsberg’s ready to serve. 

Carlsberg’s likewise been struggling to shift its beer, but more effective cost management saw the third-biggest brewer report better than expected profits. It’s feeling pretty optimistic about the future too, confident that it’s only a matter of time before people are buying liquor in their droves now the vaccine rollout’s underway. And this might not just be some summertime spike: Carlsberg reckons the bars and brewers that survive the pandemic could see a post-Prohibition-esque surge in demand once lockdowns lift.

Zooming out: Coke’s nailed this cost-cutting thing.

Coca-Cola posted its own better-than-expected earnings on Wednesday, even as the number of drinks it sold fell. See, when demand for its products plummeted last year, it cut jobs and sold off parts of its brands in hopes it’d come out of the pandemic relatively unscathed. And the move seems to have worked: the company’s cuts offset the drop-offs in sales and drove profit higher than analysts had forecast.

Originally posted as part of the Finimize daily email.

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