Carlsberg A/S today said it had seen its first quarter operating profits leap three-fold, as core markets performed well across Europe.

Carlsberg reported that operating profit had increased from DKK144m (US$17.69m), a year earlier, to DKK439m for the period this year.  And Carlsberg's stock reacted positively on the news jumping 8.7% to DKK386 a share early this morning.

Sales in Eastern Europe performed particularly strongly, increasing 74%. Western European sales were up 8%, contributing to a total increase of 9% to DKK6.97 billion.

Net profit fell to DKK62m from DKK268m, but this was largely due to first-quarter 2001 being unusually bloated by a DKK518m gain from the sale of a minority stake in a Thai brewery.

The results were particularly encouraging for the success in mature markets such as the UK, Demark and Sweden, which all saw healthy growth.

Looking ahead, Carlsberg said it expects 2002 operating profit to grow by 15%.