Carlsberg revenue up 6.5% amid strong Asia growth

Carlsberg AS (CARL-A.KO) on Thursday delivered a 6.5% rise in first-half revenue as its core beer business had strong growth in Asia while sales of its other drinks did well in parts of Europe.

Revenue rose to 32.99 billion Danish kroner ($4.93 billion) in the half, from DKK30.97 billion a year earlier, as overall beverage volumes rose 3.7% to 68.1 million hectolitres. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected revenue of DKK33.02 billion and total volumes of 68.1 million hectolitres.

Net profit attributable to shareholders rose to DKK3.08 billion, in line with estimates of DKK3.12 billion.

Carlsberg doesn’t disclose full quarterly data in its half-year results, but it said revenue in the second quarter rose 4.6% to DKK19.1 billion.

The Danish company recently upgraded its full-year guidance, and now expects high-single-digit percentage growth in organic operating profit, from mid-single-digit percentage growth previously.

There were no changes to this in Thursday’s results, but it did say it now expects a positive full-year currency translation impact on operating profit of around DKK100 million, from DKK150 million previously. Financial expenses, excluding currency losses or gains, are now expected to be around DKK700 million from DKK700 million-DKK750 million previously.

"We delivered a strong set of results for the first six months of 2019, with healthy top-line development, strong margin improvement and continued solid cash flow," Chief Executive Cees ‘t Hart said.

"Last week we were able to adjust our earnings outlook upwards due to the performance in the first half and a solid start to 3Q, and despite tough comparables."

Carlsberg said Tuborg, its largest core beer brand, grew by 4% in the half, supported by good growth in China and India, while Carlsberg brand volumes declined by 3%, with growth in markets such as Russia, Malaysia and Vietnam offset by declining volumes, most significantly in the U.K.

Alcohol-free brews continued to significantly outperform the beer market in terms of growth, delivering growth of 16%, with very strong growth rates achieved in markets such as Russia, Poland, Sweden, Denmark and Lithuania, it said.

Write to Dominic Chopping at [email protected]; @domchopping @WSJNordics

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