Baltika upbeat despite tax hike

Baltika upbeat despite tax hike

The CEO of Carlsberg has said Russia's beer market could shrink by up to 13% in 2010 following a tax hike in January, according to a report.

The three-fold tax rise on beer will cause volume sales in the Russian market to fall by between 10% and 13% this year, Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen said in an interview with the Dow Jones newswire yesterday (21 June).

The range is slightly worse than Carlsberg's prediction earlier this year that Russia's beer market would shrink by 10% in 2010, as it also did in 2009.

Beer consumption has slipped back to the levels of 2006, according to Carlsberg's Baltika Breweries subsidiary, which accounts for nearly 40% of market volume. 

Russia's Government implemented the beer tax rise as part of its crackdown on alcohol consumption.

Carlsberg blamed January's tax rise for a 9% fall in like-for-like beer volume sales across the group in its first quarter.

Russia's beer market shrank by 12% in volume terms during the quarter, reflecting stockpiling by distributors ahead of the tax hike, it said.

However, Carlsberg has said it expects to make more market share gains in Russia in 2010, despite the predicted drop in sales.

All drinks firms operating in Russia are, nervertheless, awaiting the outcome of Government discussions on a range of measures that may be taken to curb alcohol consumption.