Carlsberg has today (10 May) bounced back to post a first-quarter operating profit on the back of improved efficiency from its operations in Western Europe.

The Danish brewer posted operating profit of DKK83m (US$14.2m) for the three months to the end of March, a turnaround on the DKK22m loss it posted in the corresponding period last year.

Carlsberg said its efficiency programmes across Western Europe had begun to pay off, after seeing earnings from the region slump last year. The brewer posted operating profit of DKK15m in Western Europe as it gained from the implementation of the schemes in Sweden and in the UK. However, volumes fell 4%, mainly due to weak sales in the UK on-trade.

Net revenue rose 6% to DKK7.8bn as sales rose in Asia and from its Russian brewing venture, Baltic Beverages Holding. Revenues in Asia leapt 28% on the back of a 24% rise in volumes. Stripping out acquisitions in China and Cambodia, Carlsberg still posted a healthy 10% rise in volumes.

Carlsberg saw sales from its BBH venture rise 8% at constant currencies thanks to a focus on more premium brands. In Eastern Europe, however, earnings slumped 11% thanks to a weak performance from Carlsberg's Turkish operations and increased marketing investment in Poland. Revenues there were up 5%.