Carlsberg is outperforming rivals in Russia

Carlsberg is outperforming rivals in Russia

Carlsberg will continue to expand in Russia as rivals trip up in the volatile market, its CEO has promised.

The Danish brewer is “back on a positive trend” in Russian market share, CEO Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen told investors in a conference call today (15 Aug). Other brewers including SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev have recently lost market share, but Carlsberg still has a clear plan to increase its own, Rasmussen said.

First-half results released earlier today showed the Danish brewer increased its Russian market share by 0.3 percentage points to 37.3% compared to a year prior. A difficult 2011 had seen Carlsberg's share drop to 36.8 at the end of that year. Rasmussen had promised investors to end 2012 above that mark.

Last month, analysts blamed a volumes drop in Russia of 9.5% for A-B InBev in the first-half of the year on market share loss. Rasmussen said SABMiller could still benefit this year from its recent partnership with Turkey's Anadolu Efes.

Trading in Russia has recently been hampered by government interventions in the market place. However, Rasmussen said that despite an upcoming ban on beer advertising on television, radio and billboards, the company still expects to retain similar levels of marketing spend.

“You can expect to see us spending more on events, and on in-store activities,” he said. “We will spend the same money, but just in a different way.”

He also said that a ban on kiosks selling beer, expected to come into effect in January, will push sales to supermarket channels instead. He said some kiosks have already closed ahead of the ban while others have turned into stationary stalls, which are excluded from the ban.

Rasmussen said there is “too much speculation and not enough reality” over increases in Russia's beer excise duties.

He said the government was so far following through with its plan to escalate beer taxes through to 2014, but that Carlsberg could not predict what would happen past that.