Heineken Ireland has reported revenues of €402m for 2010 as the company grew its share of the Irish beer market by two points to 26.3%.

The company said its growth last year was due to the robust performance of its Heineken and Coors Light brands and Heineken remains the country's largest selling lager brand with a share of over 41% of the pub lager market.

The company's stout brands, Murphy's and Beamish, performed broadly in line with expectations with the stout market declining last year.

Heineken Ireland says the outlook for the beer market remains challenging as the pub trade is totally dependent on disposal income.

'Severe constraints on credit, combined with levels of consumer disposal income spend being stretched, will certainly make it tough for all to compete, and in reality 2011 will be another tough period for the industry,' a statement from the company said.

The value of the total beer market in Ireland is €2.6 billion, with pub trade still accounting for 64% of the Irish beer market. Ireland's per capita beer consumption continues to fall and is now back in line with mid 1990 levels. This marks a 20% decrease from its peak levels in 2001.

Meanwhile, the parent group Heineken - the world's third-largest brewer - beat full-year earnings forecasts as cost cuts in Europe and savings from a large Mexican acquisition more than offset lower beer sales.

The group said it expected drinkers in Latin America, Asia and Africa to buy more of its lagers and other drinks this year. And it said it would almost completely offset an expected low single-digit percentage rise in costs with higher prices.

Investors had been keen to hear the Dutch brewer's outlook on rocketing raw material costs, likely to be a hot issue in 2011. The futures price for malting barley has risen 50% since the launch of the contract in May last year.

'Harvests influence a lot of the pricing,' CEO Jean-Francois van Boxmeer said.

The group said it expected European and US consumers to be cautious this year due to unemployment and austerity measures. But it said the premium beer segment, including its Heineken brand in many markets, would outperform the beer market overall.

Rival SABMiller, with a strong presence in fast-growing African and Latin American markets, said last month its lager volumes rose 3% in the final three months of 2010.

Heineken, for whom western Europe accounted for roughly half of revenue in 2010, suffered a group volume decline on a like-for-like basis of 3.1% in the full year. The drop in the fourth quarter was 2.5%.

Heineken's purchase of the beer business of Mexican group FEMSA is set to boost operating profit from more buoyant emerging markets to 40% from 32% as well as securing brands Dos Equis, Tecate and Sol.

Heineken continues to face a challenging situation in western Europe, where the bulk of its cost-cutting has been focused. Further job cuts could be expected this year.

'In Europe in particular, we have demographics playing against us - you have to realise that baby boomers are retiring from drinking,' Van Boxmeer said.

Heineken is targeting improved sales in western Europe where it will introduce higher margin Dos Equis lager, its cider range and tequila-flavoured Desperados beer to several markets. Increased marketing would have an impact on profit.

Operating profit before one-offs rose by 25% to €2.61 billion, compared with a consensus forecast of €2.47 billion. Its 2010 net profit before one-offs rose 37% to €1.45 billion, compared with forecasts for €1.38 billion.