In line with Heineken (inside.beer, 24.4.2019), Carlsberg Group has reported a strong start to the year. The Danish brewer published its first quarter results on Thursday with total organic volume growth up 3.4% and a reported growth of 6.7% due to acquisitions. Organic net revenue grew by 6.4% and the reported growth was up 9.3% to DKK 13.9 billion (USD 2.1bln) due to acquisitions (+2.6%) and currencies (+0.3%).
Carlsberg’s craft & specialty beer segment performed especially well. Craft beer could gain 18% and alcohol-free brews were 15% up. International brands showed mixed results but could overall also increase sales, namely Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc (+30%), Grimbergen (+4%), Tuborg (+7%) and Carlsberg (+2%).
Business was best in Asia where total volume increased +9.5% to 10.7 million hl. This was even outperformed by net revenue which was up +15.3% to DKK 4.6 billion (USD 0.7bn). The markets in China (+11%), India, Vietnam, Laos and Malaysia/Singapore performed especially well, while the business in Cambodia was characterized by a reconstruction after Carlsberg increased last August its stake in Cambrew, one of the leading brewers in the country, to 75% (inside.beer, 14.8.2018).
Western Europe underperformed with total volumes up only 1.6% to 12.4 million hl and net revenue +2.4% up to DKK 7.3 billion (USD 1.1bn). While volume declined in the UK and caused the company to relaunch its flagship brand Carlsberg (inside.beer, 16.4.2019), the markets in Scandinavia, France, Bulgaria, Croatia and Germany showed a solid performance:
Last in line was Eastern Europe where volumes declined -2.4% to 5.9 million hl. Especially the important market Russia was hard hit with a volume decline of -4%. However, net revenues could be increased by +5.1% driven by price increases and growth in the craft & specialty beer segment especially in the Ukraine.
Cees ’t Hart, CEO of Carlsberg Group, commented the results as follows: “We had a good start to the year, with particularly strong volume growth in Asia and continued solid progress of our craft & speciality and alcohol-free portfolios, which improved the price/mix. We are maintaining our full-year earnings expectation.”