Danish brewer Carlsberg has reported third-quarter sales broadly in line with expectations and lifted its profit forecast for the year despite weakening consumer sentiment.
The world's third-biggest brewer said revenue in the quarter rose 14% to DKK 20.2 billion (€2.72 billion) on the back of strong Asia sales, compared with the DKK 20.3 billion (€2.73 billion) forecast by analysts in a poll compiled by the company.
Sales in Asia grew 19% in the period, with volumes up 10%, but the firm cautioned that the outlook remained uncertain.
"The business environment remains challenging, with an uncertain macro situation, very high inflation and weakening consumer sentiment," chief executive Cees 't Hart said in a statement.
Heineken, the world's second-largest brewer, said it had seen signs of slowdown in demand for its beer in some European markets over recent weeks, after its third-quarter sales rose by less than expected.
Carlsberg lifted its outlook after a 'better-than-expected performance in many of our markets' and now expects organic profit growth of 10-12% this year, compared to a previous guidance for 'high single-digit-percentage' growth.
It also increased its share buy-back programme for the fourth quarter to DKK 1.5 billion (€200 million) from DKK 1 billion (€130 million) in the third quarter.
The firm, which released the numbers one day earlier than planned, did not provide earnings in its third-quarter trading statements.
Inflation And Beer Sales
Danish brewer Carlsberg has seen little evidence of rising inflation hitting beer sales, but that could change going into 2023 as brewers continue to raise prices, Cees 't Hart said.
"So far we have seen very little evidence of any consumer impact of rising inflation," Hart said on a conference call following a quarterly trading statement published on Wednesday.
"But as inflation continues to increase and brewers raise prices again in the second half of this year and beginning of 2023, we see a bigger risk ahead of downtrading and lower volumes," he added.
Anheuser-Busch InBev and Carlsberg, the world's largest and third-largest brewers, respectively, have raised full-year profit outlook this week.
News by Reuters, edited by ESM. For more drinks news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.