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Carlsberg Swings to a Loss in Fourth Quarter

Danish brewer Carlsberg swung to a loss in the fourth quarter as restructuring costs offset sales growth, the company said Tuesday.

The maker of the Carlsberg and Tuborg beer brands reported a net loss of 80 million kroner (10.7 million euros; $14.11 million) in the period, compared to a 317 million kroner profit in the last quarter of 2005.

The results were dragged down by special items charges of 401 million kroner (53.8 million euros; $70.7 million) compared with a positive effect of 109 million kroner in the year-earlier quarter.

Carlsberg did not provide a breakdown of special items for the quarter, but for the full year the biggest charges were related to restructuring costs.

Fourth-quarter sales were 10.29 billion kroner (1.38 billion euros; $1.81 billion), up 8% from 9.51 billion kroner in 2005.

For the full year, Carlsberg posted a net profit of 1.88 billion kroner (252 million euros; $332 million), up from 1.11 billion kroner in 2005. Sales were 41.1 billion kroner (5.51 billion euros; $7.25 billion), up from 38.0 billion kroner in the year before.

Carlsberg proposed raising the dividend for 2006 to 6 kroner (0.80 euros; $1.06) per share from 5 kroner per share in 2005.

Carlsberg shares fell 3.5% at 603 kroner (80.89 euros; $106.35) on the Copenhagen stock exchange.