Danish brewer Carlsberg raised its full year profit outlook on Thursday after second-quarter sales beat forecasts on growing demand for its expensive beers in China and strong sales in Russia during the World Cup.
Carlsberg, the world's third-largest brewer behind Anheuser Busch InBev and Heineken, turned more positive on its 2018 outlook after a successful strategy to focus more on premium beers, especially in China, in the first half of the year.
The company now expects operating profit to grow by high-single-digits in percentage terms this year. It had previously forecast growth in mid-single-digits.
Shares in Carlsberg were trading around 4 percent higher, outperforming a 1.2 percent rise in Denmark's benchmark index.
"There's more than good weather to these results. What lifts the earnings is that they've sold more expensive beers. They have really good growth in premium, craft and non-alcoholic beers, which is very positive," said Sydbank analyst Morten Imsgard.
The group's price mix, which indicates that the company sold more of its expensive beers, improved by 2 percent in the first six months of the year and was positive across its major regions: Europe, Russia and Asia.
In China, which last year became Carlsberg's largest single market in volume terms, sales grew organically by 17 percent in a market that grew by an estimated 1 percent, fuelled by demand for its premium brands like Tuborg, Carlsberg and 1664 Blanc.
The Chinese market is driven by international premium beer brands, which sell at two to three times the price of mainstream brands.