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Carlsberg Sees Full-Year Organic Sales Down 8.4% In 2020

Danish brewer Carlsberg has reported quarterly sales slightly below expectations and said it expects operating profit to rise between 3% and 10% in 2021.

Fourth-quarter sales for the world's third-largest brewer stood at DKK 12.5 billion (€1.7 billion), while analysts expected an average of DKK 13.1 billion, according to a Refinitiv survey.

Overall, beer sales suffered during the pandemic due to the coronavirus and Carlsberg saw its annual organic sales decline 8.4% to a five-year low, while volume sales were down 3.8%.

Carlsberg brand volumes were down 10%, the group said, with Tuborg down 9%, 1664 Blanc up 8%, Grimbergen down 2% and Somersby up 2%.

Elsewhere, its craft and specialty brew arm saw volume growth of 1%, while alcohol-free beer volumes rose by 11%.

The brewer's business activity, which covers sales in bars, restaurants and nightclubs, fell by more than 20% last year due to containment measures put in place to stem the epidemic.

'Emerge Stronger'

“While the pandemic is not yet behind us and we don’t know how long it will remain a challenge in 2021, we believe that Carlsberg will emerge even stronger from the crisis," commented Cees ’t Hart says. "During 2020, we adjusted our cost base to a new reality and implemented new ways of working. These changes have led to a more flexible company, making us optimistic about our ability to deliver on our longterm strategic priorities.

“The group’s financial situation remains strong. Despite COVID-19, we improved our operating margin, delivered strong cash flow, increased dividend per share, carried out a sizeable share buyback programme and strengthened the business through acquisitions. We’re pleased that the Supervisory Board will recommend a further increase in the dividend for 2020 in addition to initiating a new share buy-back programme.”

News by Reuters edited by Donna Ahern, Checkout. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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