Carlsberg confident over full-year growth

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cent, Estonia, Profit

Carlsberg today lifted its fiscal earning expectations for the
second time this year on the back of a stronger than expected
performance during the six month period up to June 30.

The brewer said that strong sales growth particularly in its Eastern European operations and benefits from restructuring over the period had led net revenue to increase by a further three percentage points to 10 per cent, with operating profits expected to rise by a further €40m. Carlsberg, along with a growing number of its rivals, continues to cut costs in less profitable segments through product innovation and restructuring, while at the same time expanding market share in emerging markets in a bid to boost profitability. The group said this focus had helped drive a 12 per cent rise in net revenue for the half of the year to €2.8bn, with profit up 31 per cent to €303m. Operating margins for the period rose by 1.5 percentage points to 10.4 per cent. In Western Europe, Carlsberg's sales were up by three per cent during the period to €1.7bn with operating profit increasing 28 per cent to €156m resulting from increased sales in both its Nordic and UK operations. Operating margins for the segment were also up by 1.7 percentage points as the group implemented cost reduction measures in the region. The company said the measures had allowed it to reduce outgoings from its sales, distribution and administrative networks, offsetting increased input costs for the production of its brands. Through Carlsberg's Eastern European subsidiary, Baltic Beverages Holding (BBH), which is owned jointly with rival Scottish & Newcastle, it posted increased revenues of 36 per cent to €658m, while profits were up 48 per cent to €149m. Operating margins rose by 1.8 percentage points to 22.7 per cent as higher raw material and transport costs were offset by greater efficiency in the segment's production and sales divisions. This company said the increases were driven mainly by its operations in Russia, where increased consumption of its branded goods and mild weather combined to drive a 23 per cent increase in volume growth. The consolidation of its Baltika brewery segment led the market through its brands like Tuborg. BBH brands also achieved increased volumes in the markets of Ukraine, Kazakhstan and the Baltic States, up by 22 per cent, 20 per cent and five per cent respectively. Growth in the Russian beer market is expected to continue to drive the segment during the full year, though at a lesser rate as the affects of supply difficulties relating to spirits and wine in the country are gradually negated. Improvements in performance of its operations in the Baltic States were largely attributed to the launch of a number of premium beer brands. Outside of BBH, Eastern Europe remained a profitable market for Carlsberg with revenues increasing by 21 per cent to €270m. Operating profits for the period were up 430 per cent to €25m, while margins improved by 7.3 per cent. The company said the rises reflected high volume growth in markets such as Poland and Bulgaria, and the strong performance of its Tuborg brands and other local beer labels in South East Europe. Sales in Turkey were down for the period, though Carlsberg said it expected some recovery in the market from increased investment in new brands like Vole beer, during the half year. Though sales in its Asian operations were up by 12 per cent for the period to €172m, half year operating profit for the company declined by 23 per cent to €22m with operating margins also down by 6.1 percentage points to 13.1 per cent. A 17 per cent improvement in sales volumes within the region were not enough to offset increased material costs and reduced earnings form its operations in Malaysia. Costs for security ink and fiercer competition in the country were also said by the group to have contributed to the decline. The group's strategy of mixing premium beer brands like its Carlsberg Chill brand, along with local varieties like Dali Genuine Refresh in China, and the Halida and Huda labels in Vietnam were seen as important factors in driving sales growth. This will be further backed by the opening of the Phu Bai brewery in Vietnam towards the end of the year.

Related topics: Carlsberg

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