COPENHAGEN, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Danish brewer Carlsberg
posted third-quarter underlying sales that beat
expectations on Tuesday and raised its full-year earnings
guidance thanks to strong sales in Russia and China.
The world's third-biggest brewer, whose brands also include
Kronenbourg, Baltika and Holsten, now expects 2020 operating
profit, excluding the effects of any acquisitions, to decline by
a mid-single-digit percentage, compared with previous guidance
of a high-single-digit decline.
The upgrade was due to a strong performance in the third
quarter, continued positive volume trends in Russia and China at
the beginning of the fourth quarter, and the effects of planned
cost reductions, Carlsberg said in a statement.
Beer sales have suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, but
as some countries, including China, Carlsberg's biggest single
market by volume, relaxed lockdowns over the summer, the company
has seen a rebound enough to prompt it to raise its outlook last
Still, as a result of new coronavirus restrictions following
a recent spike in infections, sales at restaurants and bars
"face an increasing level of pressure in the coming quarters",
Volumes sold at bars and restaurants fell by a fifth in the
third quarter compared with last year, it said.
Carlsberg reported sales - excluding the effects of any
acquisitions - between July and September of 17.3 billion Danish
crowns ($2.8 billion), compared with an average forecast of 16.9
billion from analysts polled by the company.
Shares in Carlsberg have dropped around 20% from an all-time
high of 1,064.5 crowns in January.
($1 = 6.2952 Danish crowns)
(Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen
Editing by David Goodman and David Holmes)