Carlsberg has seen volumes fall in Russia

Carlsberg has seen volumes fall in Russia

Carlsberg has welcomed the on-going passage of a bill to freeze beer duty in Russia, branding it a “positive development”.

Russian legislators yesterday gave a second reading to a bill that would postpone planned duty rises for one year. According to analysts at Bernstein, the bill would see a duty freeze next year, with a RUB2 increase to RUB20 per litre in 2016 and a further RUB1 increase in 2017.

The bill requires a third reading before becoming law.

A Carlsberg spokesperson told just-drinks today: “We consider this to be a positive development but will not comment further as nothing has been finally decided. We're awaiting the third reading.”

In YTD results on Monday, Carlsberg said its shipments to Russia in the first nine months of the year fell by 11% partly because of laws that have seen beer duty rise six-fold since 2009. Carlsberg is Russia's biggest brewer, accounting for about 38% of its beer volumes in YTD.

Bernstein said today of the proposed tax freeze: “In our view, this definitely increases the potential for volume growth in Russia next year if and when consumer disposable income starts to rise again.”

On Monday, CEO Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen said politicians in Russia have a “much better understanding” of the economic damage done by the regulations and that he believed they are ready to halt the increases.