Danish brewer Carlsberg has reported strong first-half results, despite a decline in beer volume sales of 4.1%. The profit increase is thanks in part to the performance of Asian markets, which have seen consumers choosing pricier premium brands over mainstream beers.
Carlsberg – which owns beer brands such as Tuborg, Holsten and Birell – reported that beer volumes declined organically by 4.1%, although last year was comparatively positively impacted by the warm weather and the football World Cup.
Profits at the Danish brewery, meanwhile, rose by 17.7% in the first half of the year to DKK 5.17 billion ($768 million).
In Asia, net revenue growth was 14.5%, driven by 8.5% volume growth and increased sales of premium brands. Operating profit growth was particularly strong at 35.5%.
Carlsberg’s craft and speciality portfolio also saw significant growth rates of 17%, proving particularly strong in Asia and Eastern Europe. Wheat beer brand 1664 Blanc grew volumes by 29%, with markets such as China, Malaysia, France, Denmark, the Baltics, Russia and Ukraine performing particularly well. Belgian abbey beer rage Grimbergen, meanwhile, grew by 4%, mainly as a result of growth in France, Denmark, Poland and Russia.
Following its successful ‘Funding the Journey’ cost-cutting programme, the group’s priorities for 2019 are shifting towards driving revenue growth.
CEO Cees ’t Hart commented: “We delivered a strong set of results for the first six months of 2019, with healthy top-line development, strong margin improvement and continued solid cash flow. We’re pleased that last week we were able to adjust our earnings outlook upwards due to the performance in the first half and a solid start to Q3, and despite tough comparables. The earnings upgrade is yet another proof point that the execution of our SAIL’22 priorities is driving sustainable, long-term value creation for the Group.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019