Euro crisis to hit Carlsberg


DANISH BREWER Carlsberg expects the decline in western European beer markets to intensify over the next three years as the euro zone crisis bites.

The world’s fourth-largest brewer said its Russian and eastern European business would return to growth in 2012, but the outlook was gloomier in the mature western and northern European markets.

“On the short-term horizon, the next few years, three years perhaps, it is hard to see that this category will return to growth,” said Carlsberg chief executive Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen. “It will if anything continue to fall, perhaps even more than we have seen in the last few years,” he said.

In November, Mr Rasmussen said the brewer was preparing for the worst conceivable business conditions in 2012 and looking for ways to control costs as the euro zone crisis threatens to escalate.

Carlsberg – which makes Tuborg, Kronenbourg as well as Carlsberg beers and about 300 other brands – earns about half its profits from western and northern Europe.

The brewer has forecast a low single-digit percentage decline in northern and western European markets in 2011 as a whole, but the decline could intensify in 2012, Mr Rasmussen said. – (Reuters)