Denmark: Carlsberg CEO recognizes predecessor missed out on beer market consolidation

Carlsberg CEO Cees ’t Hart regretted in a recent interview with Bloomberg that his predecessor missed out opportunities in the consolidation of the worldwide beer market. “We missed the 2010-2015 consolidation in the beer market,” he said. “AB Inbev did it, Heineken did it, we didn’t -- for all kind of good reasons -- but we didn’t.”

Being CEO of Royal FrieslandCampina since 2008, Dutchman ‘t Hart joined Carlsberg in June 2015.He replaced former President and CEO, Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen, who retired after holding this position for the past seven years.

“The Carlsberg Group has good underlying fundamentals, and the Board and Jørgen are in full alignment that now is the right time to make a change and secure progress and continuity at the top executive level for a number of years ahead,” said Carlsberg’s Chairman of the Supervisory Board Flemming Besenbacher at that time.

T’ Hart said in the interview that he is now eager to do more acquisitions. “It’s fair to say that when I arrived, we didn’t have the money. Now we have the money, so something has changed,” he was cited. But he also admitted, that “in the beer world there aren’t that many companies for sale.”

2018 has already been successful for Carlsberg in terms of acquisitions: In February the Danish brewer acquired the remaining 49 percent in Olympic Brewery, the Greek’s second biggest brewery. (, 6.2.2018). Six months late, Carlsberg announced to increased its ownership in the Cambodian brewer Cambrew by 25 percent to 75 percent (, 14.8.2018). Finally, just two weeks ago, Cees ‘t Hart reveiled plans to invest up to €100 million (US$117 million) in the Kronenbourg brewery in Obernai, France in the next years.

He still sees opportunities in Vietnam, where the company has a minority share in the country’s second largest brewer Habeco and is the frontrunner in the privatization of the state-owned company. (, 21.9.2017)

“Hopefully in three to five years, what you see is that wherever we fight -- whether it’s Russia, India, China or Denmark -- our position is stronger, our margins are improved,” the CEO said. “And hopefully we will have an extension of the number of countries we operate in via acquisitions.”

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