Carlsberg posted its Q1 results yesterday

Carlsberg posted its Q1 results yesterday

Carlsberg has posted a “better-than-expected” start to 2013, an analyst has said, with the brewer's core Russian market set to gain strength throughout the year.

Nomura's Ian Shackleton said in a note today (8 May) that Carlsberg posted stronger volumes in Q1 than Heineken and Anheuser-Busch InBev and was in line with SABMiller for the three-month period. “We still have confidence in our full-year estimates and see momentum in Russia building in 2013,”  Shackleton said.

Russia accounts for about 40% of Carlsberg's profits but has struggled in recent years from lower consumer demand caused by ongoing tax increases and bans on alcohol advertising. Yesterday, Carlsberg CEO Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen said the closing of beer kiosks in the country had also affected sales. 

However, Shackleton said the growing importance of Asia in Carlsberg's accounts is starting to offset Russian difficulties.

“We see Asia, close to 20% of EBIT, becoming a more material driver for the company,” he said. “We would expect continued strong double-digit growth from the Asia division over the near term.”

In Q1 results released yesterday, Carlsberg's Asia unit posted organic sales and profits growth of about 20% as the brewer returned to the black for the quarter.