Carlsberg swings to Q1 profits

Carlsberg swings to Q1 profits

Carlsberg has stood firm on its forecast of a strong profits rise in 2010, despite seeing first quarter sales damaged by a three-fold tax rise on beer in Russia.

The Denmark-based brewer today (11 May) reported net profits of DKK471m (US$81m) for the three months to the end of March, compared to losses of DKK212m in the same period of 2009. A one-off gain of DKK390m related to a "new acquisitions accounting regulation" helped the brewer to return to the black.

The group said that it still expects net profits to rise by 20% for the year.

Its confidence caused the Denmark brewer's share price to increase by more than 3% on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange this morning as investors shrugged off concerns about Russia.

Carlsberg said that net sales for the three months to the end of March fell by 7%, to DKK11bn versus DKK11.8bn in the same period of 2009. Like-for-like beer sales by volume fell by 9%, while group operating profits fell to DKK735m, compared to DKK788m in 2009.

The tax rise in Russia, where Carlsberg is the beer market leader, was the main reason for the declines in sales and operating profits. Russia's beer market shrank by 12% in volume terms during the quarter, reflecting stockpiling by distributors ahead of the tax hike, which was implemented on 1 January.

For the full announcement, click here.