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Carlsberg Keeps 2013 Outlook After Earnings Exceed Forecasts

Cans of Carlsberg beer stand on display at the company's store at the headquarters of Carlsberg A/S in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Freya Ingrid Morales | Bloomberg via Getty Images
Cans of Carlsberg beer stand on display at the company's store at the headquarters of Carlsberg A/S in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Danish brewer Carlsberg's first-quarter operating profit and revenue beat forecasts on Tuesday, lifted by strong beer sales in Asia which cushioned a decline in mature European markets and in its former growth driver Russia.

Beer sales in Asia accounted for nearly 20 percent of group revenue in the first quarter, close to Eastern Europe sales which accounted for 22 percent.

Growth rates in Russia have been hurt by government measures to curb alcohol abuse, including tax increases and a ban on advertising in all media, including the Internet.

Carlsberg cited strong beer sales in countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia and India, adding its increase in ownership at the Chongqing Jianiang Brewery joint venture, also helped.

"The strong market growth and the market share gains in Asia combined with higher volumes in Eastern Europe more than offset the slight volume decline in Western Europe," the brewer said in a statement.

Carlsberg, like bigger rivals AB Inbev, SABMiller and Heineken, is relying on emerging markets to offset weak beer sales in recession-hit western Europe.

First-quarter operating profit before one-off items was 661 billion crowns, exceeding analysts' average forecast for 626 billion. Sales rose 3 percent, also above forecasts.

The brewer reiterated a forecast for operating earnings this year of around 10 billion Danish crowns ($1.75 billion) from 9.8 billion in 2012.



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