Carlsberg Expects European Beer Market to Be Challenging in 2013

Carlsberg A/S, the Danish maker of Tuborg beer, expects that 2013 will be another challenging year as the economic slowdown leads Europeans to drink less.

“I’m not very optimistic in terms of seeing significant improvement in the near-term in Europe,” Chief Executive Officer Joergen Buhl Rasmussen said yesterday in an interview in Tianjin, China. “The consumer is not willing to spend. I believe 2013 will be another challenging year, from a macroeconomic point of view and also therefore from a consumer point of view.”

Carlsberg reported second-quarter profit in August that missed estimates as wet weather across Europe restrained sales. The Copenhagen-based brewer’s earnings before interest, taxes and some one-time items fell 6.1 percent to 3.47 billion kroner ($598 million), missing the 3.9 billion-kroner average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Beermakers are looking to emerging markets for growth to offset tough environments in Europe. Carlsberg’s revenue and operating profit both increased in Asia in the second quarter, helped by sales in India, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. It introduced its Tuborg brand to China in April and added new bottles in Russia, India and Belarus during the first half.

Volume growth has slowed in China to about 3 percent to 5 percent recently, the CEO said, without giving a time period.

“It’s still a pretty nice growth to have in a category,” Rasmussen said. “On top of that, you can still hopefully add some value” by selling premium brands and building market share, he said.

Carlsberg ranked 10th in China’s beer market last year with a 1.5 percent share, according to data from Euromonitor. China Resources Enterprise Ltd., the maker of Snow beer with SABMiller Plc, had the largest share with 22 percent.

The Danish brewer has a stake of about 30 percent in Chongqing Brewery Co. in western China and has said it may increase its investment.

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