The breweries had already suspended production

The breweries had already suspended production

Carlsberg is to close two of its ten Russian breweries with the loss of up to 600 jobs.

The Danish brewer, which has suffered from a shrinking beer market in Russia, said today the Chelyabinsk and Krasnoyarsk plants are to be shut down. Production at the Chelyabinsk was suspended in September, while the Krasnoyarsk plant and two others had also been shuttered for the low season.

The two other plants have now restarted production, a Carlsberg spokesperson told just-drinks.

The spokesperson also said the decision to close the two breweries was taken “recently”, adding that “there are no concrete plans at this time” to shut more facilities in Russia.

The closures will cut Carlsberg's Russian capacity by around 15% and will “impact 500-600 employees”, Carlsberg said in a statement. Sales and distribution will be maintained in Chelyabinsk and Krasnoyarsk but supplies will be sourced from the remaining eight Russian breweries. The two breweries mainly brewed Baltika beer.

The company will take a pre-tax, non-cash write-down of approximately DKK700m (US$106m) from the move, and will include it in 2014 special items.

Yesterday, Carlsberg also confirmed it had instigated a freeze on salaries and new hires due to its problems in Russia. 

In year-to-date results released in November, Carlsberg shipments to Russia in the first nine months of the year fell by 11%. The firm is Russia's market leader in beer, accounting for about 38% of its volumes in YTD, but has been affected by a fall in demand.

Analysts believe the company has been hit by economic sanctions, which are affecting consumer spending in Russia.

Last month, just-drinks revealed that Carlsberg is to up its focus on no- and low-alcohol beers, which it sees as a "very big opportunity".