Carlsberg's recommendation has been raised by Merrill Lynch. The broker yesterday upped its recommendation on the Danish brewer to "buy" from "neutral," following its 2003 results and buyout of Orkla in Carlsberg Breweries.

Merrill Lynch slightly downgraded its headline per-share earning forecast for 2004 to DKK16.1, but raised its "clean" EPS forecast by 25% to DKK28.4.

In a statement, the broker said: "Due to the balance sheet leverage it now has, the valuation argument is compelling though and the changes to the structure of the company, along with the promotion of Nils Anderson to CEO of Carlsberg A?S are positive moves too."