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DENMARK: Carlsberg beer sales improve in Q3, retains guidance

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  • Q3 net sales up 8%
  • Expects 40% profits rise for year
  • CEO warns of rising costs

Carlsberg has maintained its forecast of a 40% rise in profits in 2010 and has reported improving beer sales in the third quarter of the year.

Net sales for the three months to the end of September rose by 8% on the same period of 2009, to DKK17.7bn (US$3.3bn), Carlsberg said today (9 November). Rebounding sales in Russia and ongoing momentum in Asia helped the Denmark-based brewer to offset declines in Western Europe.

On a like-for-like basis, excluding disposals and currency, third quarter sales rose by 2%. This compares to a 4% drop in the first half of the year, when the effects of a beer tax hike in Russia weighed heavily on the group. Volume sales in the third quarter rose by 3%, compared to a 1% rise for the first nine months of the year.

Carlsberg maintained its guidance of a 40% in net profits for the full-year. It also tweaked its guidance on operating profits for the year, from DKK10bn to "more than" DKK10bn.

"We are moving towards our medium-term margin target and reducing the profitability gap to other fast-moving-consumer-goods companies," said Carlsberg's CEO, Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen. Consolidated net profits for the third quarter rose by 30% to DKK2.176bn, while operating profits rose by 18% to DKK9.15bn. 

However, Rasmussen warned that the company faces higher costs and that several markets remain challenging. "While we see signs of market recovery in the important Eastern Europe region, market conditions remain challenging in several Northern & Western European markets and looking forward, we will be impacted by rising input costs and will therefore have to increase sales prices,” he said.

For the first nine months of the year, net profits rose by 45% excluding a one-off gain from the first quarter. Sales increased by 2% to DKK46.7bn, although fell by 2% on a like-for-like basis.

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