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The boss of Carlsberg has said he would be “very surprised and disappointed” if the company's overall market share in Russia did not finish the year higher than the end of 2011. 

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Speaking to analysts today (9 May), following Carlsberg's Q1 results announcement, CEO Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen, pointed to the fact that the first quarter is a “small quarter” for the brewer. “We tend to have better value coming into Christmas time, then we do in the first (quarter, in Russia), he said. “We have not been extremely aggressive on price in quarter one.” 

He added: “I would be very surprised and disappoainted if we don't end up at a higher share point than where we ended 2011.” 

Earlier today, Carlsberg reported a Q1 net loss of DKK76m (US$13.2m) compared to profits of DKK173m a year earlier, due to falling volumes in Russia. 

However, Rasmussen told analysts the underlying market in Russia “seems very positive”.

The group has been hit by major hikes in beer taxes in Russia, with the latest one landing in January. But, Rasmussen said two price increases by the company last year had “more or less covered the duty increase impact”. The company also brought another increase in Russia at the start of this month of between 2% and 2.5%, he confirmed. 

The threat of a ban on PET beer bottles in Russia also still lingers, but Rasmussen said: “We would still be very surprised if it goes through, as we have said many times, and a lot of stakeholders have said, it does not make any sense.”

Later, asked about the group's price mix in Northern and Western Europe, Rasmussen said: “We still, everywhere, have a strategy about balancing volume and value, we do not only go for volume.”


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