Brewer Carlsberg has said that it expects organic growth in operating profit to fall short of last year's levels, after the Danish firm posted fourth-quarter sales above expectations.
Carlsberg said organic operating profit is expected to grow by 0% to 7% in 2022, down from 12.5% growth last year, citing higher costs and continued coronavirus restrictions.
The group has also pledged to step up its sustainability efforts.
The world's third-biggest brewer said sales in the fourth quarter reached DKK 15.2 billion (€2.04 billion), against DKK 14.7 billion (€1.98 billion) estimated by analysts in a company poll.
Organic revenue growth for the full year was up 10.0%, while reported revenue growth rose 13.8% to DKK 66.6 billion (€8.95 billion).
Its core Carlsberg brand reported organic volume growth of 5% for the year, while Tuborg volumes were up 17%, 1664 Blanc was up 24%, Grimbergen was down 3% and Somersby rose 10%. Volumes in its craft and specialty beer arm were up 15%, with alcohol-free brews rising 17%.
Results Ahead Of 2019
“We’re very satisfied with the croup’s 2021 performance," commented CEO Cees ’t Hart. "Although our business was significantly impacted by COVID-19, we delivered strong top- and bottom-line growth and free cash flow. Our results in 2021 are well above the pre-pandemic levels of 2019."
’t Hart added that Carlsberg's financial situation is "very strong" and that the group's supervisory board has recommended an increase in dividends, as well as a new share buy-back programme.
"The significantly higher input costs and continued impact from COVID-19 will pose challenges in 2022, but we’re well prepared," he added.