Carlsberg has announced a 1% drop in beer volumes in Western Europe – and warned that prices might have to go up. The brewer, which has just completed the joint acquisition of Scottish & Newcastle, said sales in Western Europe were broadly stable apart from a ”slight decline” in the UK and Germany. ”A number of price increases have only affected part of the period and, similarly, further price increases which are expected to have an impact later in the year have been planned,” a statement said. Net revenue raised from beer was up 2% on last year and Carlsberg reported strong growth in the UK off-trade market. It was also bolstered by a new deal with Punch Taverns in the on-trade. Overall, there was a 3% fall in first-quarter operating profit to DKK381m (£40.3m) with sales up 6% to DKK9.4bn (£995m). The brewer did however see strong growth in the Eastern European and Asian markets. “The results for the first quarter normally make only a modest contribution to Carlsberg’s earnings,” said president Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen. ”Nevertheless, developments in the quarter underline the fact that we have a strong business, equipped in every way for the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead after acquisition of the activities of S&N.”

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