Carlsberg lifts profit target after UK growth
Brewing giant Carlsberg lifted its target for profits growth after securing a bigger slice of key markets including the UK.
The Copenhagen-based group, which acquired Scottish & Newcastle in partnership with Heineken in 2008, said it expected net profits to grow by around 40% this year, rather than the increase of more than 20% previously forecast.
Carlsberg said currency movements and continued market growth in Asia drove the upgrade, as well as the benefits of increased sales and marketing efforts as it gained share in large parts of the business.
This included the UK, where its share in the first six months of the year grew to 16.2%, with improvement seen in both pubs and off-licences.
The group's UK volumes increased by a low double-digit percentage after the market declined by 1% in the wake of a strong June, helped by the World Cup.
Across the business, half-year operating profits increased by 12% to 5bn krone (£550m).
Chief executive Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen said: "The group's performance was strong for the first six months in spite of challenging consumer dynamics."
The improved outlook was helped by a recovery in demand in Russia - one of the firm's key markets - together with a more positive exchange rate.
The company said beer volumes fell in the first half due to significant price increases in Russia as a result of higher taxes, but the drop was smaller than expected.
Carlsberg expects the decline in the Russian beer market to slow in the second half due to improving economic conditions and slightly better "consumer sentiment".
Heineken and Carlsberg bought S&N for £7.8bn, carving up its operations in a move that called time on more than 250 years of history as an independent brewer. Heineken took on the UK operations of S&N.