Carlsberg released its Q1 results earlier today

Carlsberg released its Q1 results earlier today

Earlier today (7 May), Carlsberg released its Q1 results, with sales inching up but profits suffering. Here, just-drinks takes a look at the Danish brewer's results by region and brand:

Regions

  • Western Europe - Sales +2.1% to DKK7.64bn, operating profits +8% to DKK440m

While the region's beer markets overall fell back by around 1%, Carlsberg made gains in Poland, Greece and Portugal. Group volumes rose by 3% in organic terms, but were held back by "the later sell-in to Easter" in the Nordics and the UK. De-stocking in France in the year-prior quarter boosted volumes this quarter.

  • Eastern Europe - Sales -14.4% to DKK2.48bn, operating profits -110% to loss of DKK8m

Yet again, Russia provided a headache for Carlsberg: The country's overall beer market fell by 5% in Q1, thanks to "the final year-on-year impact from kiosk closures, the uncertain macro environment and weaker economic growth". However, the company increased its market share by 20 basis points to 38.4%. 

Ukraine's total beer market was also down, by mid single-digits, despite better weather conditions this quarter. While the country is in the grip of political unrest, Carlsberg said it "has been operating with very limited disruption and we have been able to produce, sell and distribute our products across the country". The company noted that the authorities increased excise duties on beer by 43% on 1 May. "This will require a consumer price increase of approximately 5% to 6%," according to Carlsberg.

A negative currency impact of -18% hit reported sales in the region as a whole, while profits were hit by "the negative operational leverage in our fixed cost base in a seasonally small quarter".

  • Asia - Sales +20.1% to DKK2.73bn, operating profits -5% to DKK455m

While the region delivered growth in sales and volumes in the quarter, Vietnam and China's Xinjiang province were flagged as having struggled, due to the economic slowdown and poor weather, respectively.

While total volumes fell back by 5%, the addition of acquisitions (China's Chongqing Brewery in particular) saw reported sales rise by 17%.

India, Laos and Cambodia performed well, while Carlsberg's "international premium portfolio" delivered growth in China and India. However, the currency impact from Malaysia, Malawi, Laos and India dragged on sales in the quarter.

The fall in profits was a result of "our decision to invest in the Asian growth opportunities, such as the establishment of our business in Myanmar and increased marketing investments behind our premium brands".

Brands

Brand Carlsberg saw sales rise by 2% in its "premium markets", with the brewer activating the brand's English Premier League sponsorship in 58 markets in Q1.

Tuborg delivered a 21% leap in sales thanks predominantly to China and India.

Kronenbourg 1664 had "a good start" to the year as it cycled easy comparatives: De-stocking in France in the prior-year quarter gave the brand little to worry about in Q1.

Somersby cider was the star performer, with sales leaping by 85%. "For two years in a row now, the brand has been the fastest growing global cider brand," Carlsberg said. Poland was singled out for its "continued positive performance", while line extensions in established markets also helped.

Grimbergen continues to hold the accolade of "fastest growing international abbey beer", according to the company. The Belgian abbey ale is now available in 33 markets.

Expert analysis

Carlsberg A/S - Strategy and SWOT Report

Carlsberg A/S - Strategy and SWOT Report

Carlsberg A/S - Strategy and SWOT Report, is a source of comprehensive company data and information. The report covers the company’s structure, operation, SWOT analysis, product and service offerings ...read more