Carlsberg Sees 2020 Profit Fall As Lockdowns Bite; Suspends Share Buyback

By Dave Simpson
Carlsberg Sees 2020 Profit Fall As Lockdowns Bite; Suspends Share Buyback

Carlsberg has said that it expects its operating profit to fall by as much as 15% this year as lockdowns will hurt sales in the second half in key markets of China and western Europe, sending its shares down more than 5%.

The world's third-biggest brewer after Anheuser Busch InBev and Heineken suspended the second tranche of a share buyback and said that it will cut an unspecified number of jobs at its head office in Copenhagen.

It said that, although drinkers have started to return to bars and restaurants in China and western Europe, lockdowns are likely to keep sales subdued for the remainder of the year.

The Chinese market, which is Carlberg's biggest market by volume, started the third quarter well, but sales have been hurt more recently due to renewed lockdowns in parts of the country, Carlsberg said.

In western Europe, sales at bars and restaurants are gradually recovering, but are not expected to return to normal levels this year, it said.


"Recognising that we're faced with a new market reality, including changed consumer preferences and a reduced level of on-trade activity, we're taking measures to adapt our business accordingly," CEO Cees 't Hart said.

The company suspended guidance in April, but said on Thursday August 13 that it expects a decline in organic operating profit this year of 10%-15%.

Shares, O2 Price/Mix, Sales And Total Volumes

Shares in Carlsberg were 5.3% lower at 889 crowns each by 0744 GMT on Thursday August 13.

The shares have risen more than a third since mid-March, but are still trading below an all-time high of 1,065 Danish crowns hit in January.

The price/mix, which indicates whether the company sold more or less of its expensive beer, was minus 7% in the second quarter, Carlsberg said in a statement.


Second-quarter sales fell 15% from a year earlier to 15.9 billion Danish crowns ($2.5 billion) on a fall in total volumes of 8%, in line with preliminary figures posted last month.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.