Carlsberg sales up 27 per cent in ‘turbulent’ quarter

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Carlsberg Danish Pilsner

Carlsberg on Thursday reported revenue growth of 26.5 per cent to DKK 14.9 billion (£1.69bn) in the first quarter of the year, which the Danish brewer said was ‘turbulent’ for them due to the war in Ukraine.

Last month, the group has announced its decision to divest its Russian business in response to the war. The sales figures for the quarter exclude the Russia business.

“The broader implications of the war and the decision to divest our business in Russia are significant for our people and our company,” Cees ’t Hart, Carlsberg Group chief executive, said.

“Looking at business performance, the first quarter saw only limited impact from the war. The group had a strong start to the year, albeit Western Europe had easy comparables due to the extensive lockdowns last year.”

The group said its revenue growth benefitted from price increases and channel and country mix.

“We’ve learned from previous crises that when consumers can’t afford to go on holiday or spend money on new cars and fridges, they instead focus on more affordable luxury items such as premium beer,” Hart said.

“So far we’ve seen very little evidence of any consumer impact from higher beer prices,” he said.

Hart revealed that they are “making good progress” in the divestment of the Russian business, but added that “it may take quite a while.”

Carlsberg owns Russian brewer Baltika Brewery, whose employees represent a fifth of the beermaker’s global workforce.

In 2021, Carlsberg’s Russian business reported a revenue of DKK 6.5bn and an operating profit of 682 million.

Carlsberg left its full-year guidance for operating profit unchanged with a forecast at between minus 5 per cent and plus 2 per cent.