Carlsberg Group has recorded a net revenue rise of 3% for the year, following the strong performance of its core and craft beer brands, as well as its no- and low-alcohol portfolio.
Carlsberg – which owns beer brands such as Tuborg, Holsten and Birrell – recorded net revenues of DKK 62.5 billion ($9.53 billion) for the full year, the first time the company’s sales have risen in the last three years.
The company partially attributed the performance to the unusually warm weather in Western Europe and the boost provided by the 2018 World Cup, which led to a net revenue rise of 3% and sales volume growth of 3.6% in the region over the year.
Full-year operating profit also increased by 5.1% to DKK 9,32 billion ($1.42 billion), as profits rose 15.8% in Asia, 11.3% in Eastern Europe and 7% in Western Europe.
Sales volumes grew by 19% in India and by 15% in China, while revenue in Russia grew 3%, also boosted by warm weather and the World Cup.
Craft beer is proving an increasingly popular beverage choice for many consumers, and the company’s craft & speciality portfolio delivered growth of 26%, with international speciality brands Grimbergen and 1664 Blanc and craft brands such as Brooklyn performing strongly.
In 2018, Carlsberg launched Birell as the Group’s ‘first global alcohol-free drink’, and Carlsberg’s overall alcohol-free beer portfolio experienced 33% growth in Western Europe, while the company’s Baltika 0 brand grew by 35% in Russia.
Carlsberg’s core beer brands also experienced growth, as Tuborg sales rose 10%, supported by good growth in China, India and Western Europe, while global Carlsberg sales volumes grew 5%.
Carlsberg CEO Cees ’t Hart said: “We delivered a strong set of results for 2018. In line with our ambitions for SAIL’22, we accelerated top-line growth, improved margins, delivered a strong cash flow and reduced debt even further.
“At the same time, we invested significant resources in our brands and activities, and we continue to target top-line growth and profit improvement in the coming years.”
Over the course of the year, Carlsberg made a number of significant investments to boost its operations. This included the purchase of a 28.5% stake in Super Bock Group owner Viacer, the acquisition of a majority stake in Cambodian brewer Cambrew Limited and the full acquisition of Olympic Brewery, Greece’s second-largest brewer.
The company also attempted to boost its sustainability commitments by removing the plastic rings which connect multi-packs of its beer, replacing them with glue, in a move which the company claimed would “reduce plastic waste globally by more than 1,200 tonnes a year”.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019