• Nine-month net profits rise by 33.6% to DKK280.5m (US$50.2m)
  • Net sales drop by 10% to DKK2.67bn
  • EBITDA falls by 3.7% to DKK480.1m
  • Brewer maintains outlook as lower interest costs aid profits
Royal Unibrew posts lower sales but maintains guidance

Royal Unibrew posts lower sales but maintains guidance

Royal Unibrew has said that it is satisfied with the first nine months of its fiscal year, with lower costs offsetting a drop in net beer sales.

For the nine months to the end of September, net sales dropped by 10%, to DKK2.67bn (US$478m), Royal Unibrew said today (30 November). Sales were partly dented by the withdrawal of Royal Unibrew Polska from the group's accounts, following its merger with Van Pur brewery in March this year.

On an underlying basis, net beer sales increased in Eastern Europe for the nine-month period. However, the brewer continued to face problems in Western Europe and in its business beyond Europe. Even on an organic basis, excluding currency and the effect of disposals, total group net sales still dropped by 2% for the nine months. 

Organic volume sales rose by 2% over the same period, indicating that consumers have traded down to cheaper beers. The Denmark-based group said that it has generally maintained market share in its major markets, which include Poland and Italy.  

It reported nine-month EBITDA down by 3.7% on the same period of 2010, to DKK480.1m. However, net profits leapt by 33% to DKK280.5m, largely due to lower debt-related interest costs. 

"We are satisfied with the results for the nine months to 30 September 2011 and therefore maintain the outlook for 2011," said Royal Unibrew's CEO, Henrik Brandt. "We have defended our strong market positions, created solid profit improvement and reduced our debts."

Nevertheless, the brewer expects full-year net sales and profits to be at the lower end of its guidance ranges. Those ranges are between DKK3.4bn and DK3.55bn for net sales and between DKK575m and DKK625m for EBITDA.

For the third quarter, Royal Unibrew reported net profits rose by 9.4% to DKK153.4m. EBITDA decreased by 13.3% to DKK212.5m, while net sales dropped by 14.7% to DKK928m.

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