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Carlsberg Shuns America; Looks to E. Europe, Asia

Carlsberg is one of the world's largest makers of beer, but the Danish firm has no plans to expand into the American markets, preferring instead to tie its growth targets to Eastern Europe and Asia.

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"We are not really planning to go into Latin America or the US at this point, in any big scale or any big way," Carlsberg CEO Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen told CNBC Tuesday after posting an upbeat outlook for 2010.

Carlsberg has the ability to grow in terms of earnings and cash flow by focusing on Europe and Asia, Rasmussen added.

"We'll put more emphasis on growing the topline in all the regions we're in today in terms of new products, innovation and also supporting our brands with even more marketing," he said.

Carlsberg expects full-year net profit to grow 20 percent this year despite mounting concerns over the popularity of beer. That growth depends in part on Russians ditching strong spirits like Vodka for beer, according to Rasmussen.

Russian consumers drink a disproportionately high amount of spirits, compared to the rest of the world, but the amount of spirits they drink will likely fall, potentially boosting demand for beer, he said.

Meanwhile, Carlsberg is expanding its presence in Asia with extensive marketing and sees key growth opportunities in the region.

"We see Asia being a big, big opportunity for Carlsberg going forward. It's still a relatively small part of the total Carlsberg business, but we have some key markets like Vietnam, like China where we see many, many opportunities for growth," he said.

- Watch the full interview with Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen above.

Rival beer-maker Heineken is seeing a similar trend and CFO René Hooft Graafland disputed the notion that beer demand was in general decline globally, when speaking to CNBC.

"You cannot give one pattern for the whole world" and "beers are winning" in Eastern Europe and Asia, Graafland told CNBC.

Even though there are pockets of growth supporting the outlook for beer, Heineken warned that beer consumption will fall further in 2010.

- Watch the full interview with René Hooft Graafland above.

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