RUSSIA: Carlsberg shares tumble on regulation fears
Carlsberg shares have tumbled after Russia's parliament voted to back new sales restrictions on alcohol.
Members of Russia's Duma, the lower house in the country's Parliament, have voted to to support the alcohol bill, which would ban outdoor kiosks from selling alcohol and prohibit beer sales between 23:00 and 08:00 hours.
By midday today (7 July), Carlsberg's shares were trading around 5% lower on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange than at the beginning of yesterday, although there had been a mild pick-up by mid-afternoon.
Carlsberg is the most exposed of the mulinational brewers to Russia. The group owns Baltika Breweries, which leads the market with around a 40% volume share. Anheuser-Busch InBev's Sun InBev is its nearest rival, with a share of just 16%.
Russia's prime minister, Vladimir Putin, has been quoted as calling the nation's drinking habit a "scourge".
Brewers have been lobbying Russian politicians in an effort to avoid further punitive measures against them, following a three-fold hike in beer tax in January 2010.
A Carlsberg spokesperson declined to comment on the latest development today, because the bill remains only a proposal at this stage.
Previously, the brewer has appeared confident that the threat of new legislation on alcohol sales will not have too much of an effect on its Russian business, which operates largely at above-average price points. There is also a sense that the Government is keener to target vodka, rather than beer.
"We've had two very challenging years, but I'm extremely optimistic about Russia," Carlsberg's CEO, Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen, said in an exclusive interview with just-drinks earlier this year.
I can't help but feel slightly bemused by the furore surrounding a report that Anheuser-Busch InBev paid a communications agency to change details on a Wikipedia page for one of its brands....
Carlsberg has said that it has "full confidence" in management at Chinese partner Chongqing Brewery, despite seeing the group's shares suspended from trading....
Guangzhou Zhujiang Brewery is planning to raise up to CNY2.21bn (US$350m) via a share issue in order to expand capacity in China's growing beer market, according to local reports....
The UK arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev has defended its use of a lobbying agency to remove references to the term 'wife beater' from the Wikipedia page for its Stella Artois lager brand....
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