Carlsberg’s raises full year guidance emboldened by strong recovery in beer volumes

DENMARK – Danish multinational brewing company Carlsberg has raised its full-year earnings guidance after reporting a “strong set of results” for the first half of the year.  

The maker of Carlsberg and Tuborg brands registered 17.7% sales growth – on a reported basis – in Q2, while sales grew by 9.9% to DKK 31.69 billion (US$4.99 billion approx.) in the first half of the year. 

Volume growth during the first six months reached 11.9% mainly driven by recovery in Asia where volumes grew 19.7% albeit from a low benchmark. 

Meanwhile, the company’s Central & Eastern Europe unit delivered a “solid performance” with total organic volume growth of 8.7%. 

In Western Europe, modest volume growth of 1.1% was reported in the first half, with volumes in June boosted by the reopening of pubs and bars and the European football championship, following a “very challenging Q1”. 

Commenting on the first half, Carlsberg CEO Cees ’t Hart said that the company delivered a “strong set of results” but that pandemic-related uncertainty persists. 

He said: “Although we see a gradual return to a more normal environment in markets across Europe, other markets, particularly in Asia, remain subject to severe restrictions due to new waves of the infection”. 

“While the uncertainty about the remainder of the year continues, we’re satisfied with the strength of the H1 results and the good start to Q3, enabling us to upgrade the earnings guidance for the year and launch the third quarterly share buy-back programme.” 

In light of its results, Carlsberg has raised its earnings guidance for the second time – and now expects organic growth in operating profit of between 8% and 11%, compared with its previous forecast of 5-10% growth. 

CEO Hart however revealed that while Carlsberg has hedged against rising commodity prices until the end of the year, “significantly higher” costs would hit the company next year, driven by rising prices for aluminium, barley, paper and oil. 

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Rival Heineken which also beat expectations for first-half beer sales when it reported earnings this month has also warned of rising costs and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Asian markets.  

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