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Carlsberg, the Danish brewer, blamed “very bad weather” in western Europe for missing profit forecasts in the second quarter.
The maker of Carlsberg, Tuborg and Baltika beers reported a 6 per cent decline in operating profit to DKr3.47bn ($575m) on sales up 5 per cent to DKr19.6bn. Analysts had been expecting operating profit of DKr3.8bn-3.9bn, according to Reuters and Bloomberg News.
But the world’s fourth-largest brewer by sales hailed signs of improvement in its crucial Russian beer market, which had been a problem area after unexpected tax increases and a fall in sales. It achieved 1 per cent volume growth in the quarter in Russia and its market share increased by 30 basis points to 37.3 per cent. Its market share at the start of 2011 was 39.2 per cent, according to Nielsen Holdings.
Carlsberg is buying out minority shareholders in Baltika, its Russian subsidiary, for up to $1.2bn as it seeks more flexibility to stem a long decline in sales after investing more than $12bn in the country in the past two decades.
Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen, chief executive, said: “It is particularly satisfying to see a further improvement in our Russian market share, which is a clear sign that our efforts initiated during last year are beginning to bear fruit.”
Despite being a sponsor of the Euro 2012 football tournament, Carlsberg saw volumes in northern and western Europe – excluding Poland, one of the event’s host countries – fall 3.5 per cent in the quarter.
Because of the bad weather, tempered by a better than expected rouble exchange rate, Carlsberg kept its full-year guidance of a similar level of operating profit to last year unchanged.
Carlsberg’s B shares were up slightly at DKr514.50 in early trading in Copenhagen.