Russian summer boosts Carlsberg beer: company

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Danish brewing giant Carlsberg raised its 2010 forecasts on Tuesday after unexpectedly strong third-quarter results boosted by summer heatwaves in Russia and Ukraine, and a booming Asian market.

But the overall outlook, including rising costs, cooled the shares sharply.

The company, the world's fourth-biggest brewer, said that future results would be affected by rising production prices and that it would need to raise the price of its beer, including the Danish Carlsberg and Turborg, French Kronenbourg and Russian Baltika brands.

Carlsberg shares fell by 4.79 percent to 566 kroner per share in late morning trading on a Copenhagen stock exchange down just 0.27 percent.

For the July-to-September period, the company saw its net profit jump 31 percent to 1.95 billion kroner (261.2 million euros, 363.9 million dollars) on sales up eight percent at 17.08 billion kroner, according to the earnings report.

The improved earnings, it said, were "driven by improving macroeconomics, improved consumer sentiment, and warm weather."

Its sales growth was especially strong in Asia, soaring 38 percent there, and Eastern Europe, where they were up 17 percent.

Sales meanwhile inched up 1.0 percent in Western and Northern Europe, where they had been declining for several years.

The Danish brewer, which entered the global league when it bought Scottish & Newcastle in 2008, raised its operating profit forecast to "more than" 10 billion kroner for all of 2010, up from its previous estimate it would make "around" the same amount.

It meanwhile maintained its forecast that its net profit would grow 40 percent this year, not taking into consideration 390 million kroner spent on an acquisition.

However, cautioned company chief executive Joergen Buhl Rasmussen, "while we see signs of market recovery in the important Eastern Europe region, market conditions remain challenging in several Northern and Western European markets."

"Looking forward, we will be impacted by rising input costs and will therefore have to increase sales prices," he said.

© 2010 AFP

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