The Carlsberg Group announced its financial results for the second quarter of 2023, marking the final results under the leadership of CEO Cees ’t Hart. The company reported a solid set of results despite operating in a challenging business environment. The situation in the important Russian market is still unresolved. Despite this, the results were highlighted by continued volume growth primarily driven by the Asian market and the success of the premium portfolio.
Carlsberg Group reported an organic volume growth of 0.8%, showcasing their resilience and strategic focus. The volume development across various regions displayed mixed results. While Western Europe and Central & Eastern Europe experienced a decline in organic volume at -2.1% and -1.9% respectively, Asia emerged as a significant growth driver with an impressive volume increase of +4.8%.
The premium portfolio of the Carlsberg Group exhibited remarkable growth, expanding by 3%. This growth was powered by several international premium brands, including Tuborg with a solid +3%, Carlsberg with a steady +1%, 1664 Blanc with an impressive +5%, Brooklyn with an astonishing +52%, while Somersby Cider showed a significant decrease of -7%.
The Carlsberg Group recorded a substantial organic revenue growth of 11.2%, likely indicating a rebound from the previous year, which was still impacted by the pandemic. This growth was consistent across all regions, with Western Europe witnessing an increase of +9.2%, Asia achieving a remarkable +11.7%, and Central & Eastern Europe surging ahead with an impressive +16.3% growth in organic revenue.
Despite the robust performance, reported revenue growth was impacted by unfavorable foreign exchange movements, resulting in a growth rate of 6.6%, bringing the total revenue to DKK 37,788 million. However, the revenue per hectoliter (hl) metric showed a remarkable overall increase of 10%, with strong growth observed in all regions.
The Carlsberg Group reported organic operating profit growth of 5.2%, reflecting the positive impact of revenue growth. This growth was partially offset by cost inflation and higher investments in sales and marketing efforts. Reported operating profit, however, saw a decline of 2.6%, amounting to DKK 6,272 million, due to the adverse effects of foreign exchange movements.
The company demonstrated its commitment to enhancing shareholder value through a total share buy-back and dividend payment of DKK 5.0 billion. The net interest-bearing debt to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (NIBD/EBITDA) ratio stood at a healthy 1.46x, indicating a strong financial position.
Return on invested capital (ROIC) showed improvement, rising by 30 basis points to 15.2%, and an even more remarkable increase of 50 basis points to 41.2% when excluding goodwill. To further benefit shareholders, a new quarterly share buy-back program of DKK 1 billion was initiated.
The situation in the critical Russian market remains intricate. On July 16th, a presidential decree unexpectedly led to the temporary transfer of Baltika Breweries' management to the Russian Federal Agency for State Property Management (inside.beer, 16.7.2023), contradicting the business sale announcement made on June 23rd (inside.beer, 23.6.2023).
In its last announcement as CEO of the CarlsbergGroup, Cees ’t Hart, expressed satisfaction with the company's solid performance amidst challenging circumstances. He emphasized the strategic importance of investments in long-term growth opportunities, despite facing cost inflation.
Cees ’t Hart also acknowledged the leadership transition, with Jacob Aarup-Andersen set to become the new CEO (inside.beer, 16.3.2023), taking over from Cees ’t Hart. The outgoing CEO expressed confidence in the future leadership team and the organization's ability to continue creating value for shareholders.