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Carlsberg expects better than forecast H1 operating profit, shares jump

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Danish brewer Carlsberg said on Friday it expects a smaller than forecast drop in first-half operating profit as its key Chinese market rebounded strongly during the second quarter, sending its shares up 5 per cent.

[COPENHAGEN] Danish brewer Carlsberg said on Friday it expects a smaller than forecast drop in first-half operating profit as its key Chinese market rebounded strongly during the second quarter, sending its shares up 5 per cent.

The world's third biggest brewer after Anheuser Busch InBev and Heineken said it expects a decline in operating profit of 9 per cent in the first six months of the year, compared to analysts' consensus forecast for a 26 per cent fall, according to a Jeffries note to clients.

"Although government lockdowns are gradually being lifted, the sales development across our regions in the coming months continues to be volatile and uncertain, not least during the important summer months," it said, keeping its full-year guidance suspended.

Shares in Carlsberg are up 40 per cent since a trough in mid-March and were trading 4.8 per cent higher at 8.19am GMT (4.19pm SGT).

"Carlsberg is navigating the crisis well," Jefferies analysts said in the note. "Beyond 2020 and the easy comparison in 2021, which should be a summer of sport, Carlsberg remains an attractive investment proposition."

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In a market update ahead of full results due on Aug 13, the company said second quarter sales fell 15 per cent with volumes down 8 per cent.

However, profits in China, its biggest market, had improved in the second quarter.

"Our Chinese business rebounded strongly in the second quarter," Carlsberg said in a statement.

Western Europe had a very difficult start to the quarter, but saw "improved performance" towards the end of the period as bars and restaurants reopened and due to warm weather in June, the brewer said.

The price/mix, which indicates whether the company sold more or less of its expensive beer, continued to be negatively impacted across markets, it said.

REUTERS

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