Carlsberg said today its full-year sales and profits forecast remained unchanged despite lower than predicted pre-tax profits in the second quarter.
The Danish brewer said pre-tax profits fell to 3.44bn kroner (£394m) from 3.47bn in the same quarter a year ago, behind analyst expectations of 3.55bn. However it reaffirmed that it still expects full-year operating profits of 10bn kroner.
Rising sales in Asia are likely to be offset by tougher conditions in the more mature markets of Russia and Western Europe, the brewer said. In Russia, where the government has introduced a number of measures aimed at tackling alcoholism, such as increasing tax and bringing in stricter rules around sales, Carlsberg said it now expects a fall in full-year sales in the mid-single digits. It had previously predicted that sales in Russia would be flat.
“Challenging market conditions underpin the importance of our continued efforts to make our business more efficient,” said chief executive officer Joergen Buhl Rasmussen.
Carlsberg said the UK market declined by around 4%. While strengthening its market share in the on-trade, the brewer lost share in the off-trade as it struggled against 2012 comparisons that included the Euro 2012 football championships.
It said the UK launches of Carlsberg Citrus and Somersby cider had delivered “good initial results”. However, The Grocer reported at the start of the month that Somersby racked up less than £2.5m in first-year off-trade sales, a performance Carlsberg described as “steady, sustainable and in line with expectations”.
Group organic beer volumes fell 2% in the second quarter, Carlsberg said.