Heineken NV , the world's third-largest brewer, forecast lower beer consumption in many regions, limited price increases and few cost benefits this year after reporting 2009 results broadly in line with expectations.

Heineken, like other brewers, suffered from recession-conscious consumers drinking less beer in 2009 but succeeded in pushing through price increases.

The global economic environment will continue to lead to lower beer consumption and down-trading in a number of regions in 2010, Heineken said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Dutch company, whose chief brands are Heineken and Amstel, Europe's No.1 and No.3 beers, said it was committed to maintaining or increasing prices and would continue to pass on excise duty rises to consumers.

However, it said that price increases would not be as steep this year as they were in 2009.

The likely fall in raw material costs per hectoliter due to a temporary decline in the price of brewing barley would be offset by higher energy costs, rising advertising rates and increased marketing costs.

It would continue to drive through its three-year total cost management plan, which yielded 155 million euros in savings to operating income its first year in 2009.

Heineken said that earnings before interest, tax (EBIT), and one-offs rose by 14 percent on a like-for-like basis to 2.095 billion euros ($2.85 billion) in 2009. The average forecast in a Reuters poll of 14 analysts was 2.10 billion euros.

That came despite a 5.4 percent fall in underlying consolidated beer volumes. A 4.5 percent improvement in pricing and sales mix translated into a 0.2 percent drop in revenue. Cost cutting then explained the profit increase.

World No.2 SABMiller said last month that its underlying beer volumes were flat in the last three months of 2009 as consumer demand in emerging markets offset declines in Europe, North America and South Africa.

Heineken's pain has been greater than its peers given that some 70 percent of the Dutch brewer's operating profit comes from the more sluggish European and North American markets.

Heineken bought Scottish & Newcastle with Carlsberg for 7.8 billion pounds ($12.06 billion) in 2008, chiefly getting the British assets.

However, it is set to boost its emerging market presence to 40 percent by buying the beer business of Mexico's FEMSA.

Carlsberg also reports 2009 results on Tuesday.

($1=.7340 euros)

($1=.6469 pounds)

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Karen Foster, Mike Nesbit)