Danish brewer Carlsberg has raised its full-year earnings guidance after reporting second-quarter sales above expectations, but warned that severe coronavirus restrictions in Asia could hit sales.
The world's third-biggest brewer said beer volumes in key markets China and Russia had risen to 'well above' pre-pandemic levels while European markets such as France, Switzerland and Sweden remained below levels achieved before the coronavirus crisis.
"While the uncertainty about the remainder of the year continues, we're satisfied with the strength of the first-half results and the good start to the third quarter," chief executive Cees 't Hart said in a statement.
"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 infection."
In the first quarter, the brewer reported sales slightly above expectations, with the group noting that while its Western Europe business was impacted by continued lockdowns, growth in China was strong.
Sales between April and June reached DKK 18.69 billion (€2.51 billion), compared with a DKK17.97 billion forecast in a company-compiled poll of analysts.
Organic revenue increased 14.3% year-on-year during the quarter, while organic volume growth was 8.8%.
Carlsberg said it now expects operating profit to grow by between 8% and 11% this year, up from its previous guidance of 5-10% growth.
Rival Heineken also beat expectations for first-half beer sales when it reported earnings this month, but warned of rising costs and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Asian markets.