Danish brewer Carlsberg has reported first-quarter sales excluding Russia up 27% year on year, as post-pandemic consumers began drinking more expensive beer.
"The group had a strong start to the year, albeit Western Europe had easy comparables due to the extensive lockdowns last year," CEO Cees 't Hart said in a statement.
"Looking at business performance, the first quarter saw only limited impact from the war [in Ukraine]," he added.
Pulling Out Of Russia
Carlsberg, along with rivals Anheuser-Busch InBev and Heineken, have joined an exodus of Western companies from Russia amid pressure on Moscow to end its invasion in Ukraine.
The sale process of its Russian business, which last year generated 10% of its total revenue, could take up to 12 months, Carlsberg said.
"We will ensure an orderly divestiture process, Hart said, adding that operations in Russia will continue for now "to sustain the livelihood of the 8,400 Russian employees and their families."
The world's third-biggest brewer said sales in the quarter reached DKK 14.9 billion (€2 billion), compared with DKK 11.8 billion (€1.59 billion) a year earlier. The numbers did not include sales in Russia.
Carlsberg left its full-year guidance for operating profit remained unchanged with a forecast at between minus 5% and plus 2%.
“Although there is significant uncertainty for the rest of the year, we reinstated the full-year earnings guidance last week and, based on the group’s continued strong financial position, today we’re launching the second quarterly share buy-back programme of the year," 't Hart commented.
News by Reuters, additional reporting by ESM – your source for the latest drinks news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.