On 1 May, Carlsberg released its results for the first quarter of 2018. The brewer's sales in the three months to the end of March rose by 2% on the corresponding period a year earlier, on flat volumes. Here, just-drinks takes a closer look at the group's performance in the quarter.

Carlsberg 2018 - Sales versus 2017

Source: Company results, just-drinks estimates

In reported terms, Carlsberg experienced a 5% sales dip in the three-month period, as highlighted by the figures above. That said, the organic lift of 2% will be welcomed by the group, which will be hoping for a bumper summer. thanks no doubt to the beer-friendly FIFA World Cup, which starts on 14 June and runs until 15 July.

Carlsberg Q1 2018 - Sales by Region

Western EuropeEastern EuropeAsiaTotal
Q1 201778002315357413702
Q1 201870951992360812704

Source: Company results

  • Western Europe - Sales -3%

The sales dip in Western Europe was mainly due to a 2% volumes drop that Carlsberg blamed on market share losses in the UK related to its namesake brand. Any gains from an earlier Easter across Europe were offset by poor weather conditions in March that saw some countries effectively shut down for a week.

There was better news for the group's non-alcoholic portfolio in the region, which increased volumes by 23%.

Reported sales were down 8% for the quarter, with Carlsberg pointing the finger at currency fluctuations and its divestment in April last year of German wholesaler Nordic Getränke.

  • Eastern Europe - Sales -3%

Disruption came through the legislation in Russia banning certain sizes of PET bottles, which continues to affect the group's volumes in the country. However, the ban has forced Carlsberg to turn to a value-based strategy instead of a volumes one, and although volumes fell in Eastern Europe by 6%, strong price/mix gains of 3% limited the declines.

Carlsberg's Eastern Europe reported sales fell by 14% because of currency weakness.

  • Asia - Sales +16%

Asia enjoyed a strong start to the year as volumes jumped a solid 12% in the first quarter. The increase, however, was mainly down to a later sell-in period for New Year celebrations in China and Vietnam, so Carlsberg can expect the gains to level off.

Furthermore, although volumes in India jumped by 30%, this was from an easy comparable against the disruption last year caused by the highway ban.

On a reported basis, sales grew by 6%, impacted by currency movements, in particular the Chinese, Indian and Lao currencies. Carlsberg said.

Click here for Carlsberg's company page on just-drinks

Expert analysis

Global Beer Market 2017-2021

Global Beer Market 2017-2021

About Beer Beer is the highest consumed alcoholic beverage in the world and the third-most consumed beverage after water and tea....read more