• First quarter sales rise 3.8% to DKK12.99bn (US$2.11bn)
  • Asia reporting region soars, jumping 30.4% in three months to end of March
  • Western Europe struggles with lockdowns, sliding 14.9%
  • Group volumes climb 11.5%

Carlsberg has signalled a healthier start to 2021, with the group’s top-line approaching a 4% lift in the first quarter.

Almost three months after reporting an 8.4% sales slide from 2020, the brewer today set the scene for a more normal year ahead. Driving the performance on a regional basis was ‘Asia’, where sales in the three months to the end of March came in 30.4% up at DKK4.99bn thanks in part to a volumes jump in China of “over” 50%.

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The return of lockdown measures in Carlsberg’s ‘Western Europe’ reporting region, however, hampered sales – down almost 15% to DKK5.03bn.

Over in ‘Central & Eastern Europe’, where Carlsberg owns Russian market leader Baltika, revenues increased by 3.1% to DKK2.97bn.

While the company’s namesake brand declined on a volumes basis by 4% in the quarter, Tuborg enjoyed an impressive three months, leaping by 26%.

Elsewhere, and capitalising on the continuing trend among consumers towards healthier alcohol choices, Carlsberg noted that its ‘alcohol-free brews’ portfolio was up a combined 24% in volumes.

CEO Cees ‘t Hart

“The group had a strong start to the year in Asia and Central & Eastern Europe, while Western Europe was significantly impacted by the extensive lockdowns and restrictions across the region. With COVID-19 continuing to be a challenge in many of our markets, our geographical exposure showed its strength, as strong volume growth in several markets across all three regions more than offset challenging circumstances in other markets.

“Although the uncertainty as to how the pandemic will evolve in the coming quarters remains high, we’re pleased that we can raise the bottom end of our earnings guidance … .”

To access Carlsberg’s official Q1 2021 results statement, click here.

Carlsberg Performance Trends 2016-2020 – results data