Danish brewer Carlsberg (CABGY) posted first-half results that undershot expectations on currency headwinds, but reiterated its full-year guidance.
The Copenhagen-based brewer on Wednesday said that operating profit before special items fell to 3.45 billion Danish kroner ($522 million), 4% lower than last year and below market bets on Dkr3.54 billion.
First-half sales rose 4% on an organic basis, above the Bloomberg News consensus forecast of 3.2%. Net revenues in Western Europe declined organically by 3%, but grew 20% in Eastern Europe and by 5% in Asia.
The company maintained its outlook for the full year of organic operating profit growth in the low single digits, as it seeks to further reduce financial leverage and cut up to Dkr 2 billion in costs as part of a longer-term strategy unveiled in March.
While currency headwinds continue to be a barrier, however, Carlsberg said it now expects a somewhat smaller negative impact of Dkr 550 million, compared to its previous expectation of Dkr 600 million.
"Although the major eastern European currencies have strengthened during the first quarter of the year, some Asian and Western European currencies have developed unfavorably," it said.
Carlsberg shares slid 4.2-% in Copenhagen to Dkr 650.50, giving it a market value of around Dkr 103.6 billion. The stock is up 13.9% higher over a year ago.
During a conference call, CFO CFO Heine Dalsgaard noted that all three regions - Western and Eastern Europe and Asia - contributed positively to organic growth in the first half but said that results were hurt by negative currency impacts from the Russian ruble, the Chinese remnibi, the British pound and the Norwegian kroner.
Dalsgaard, previously with facilities management company ISS A/S, assumed duties as CFO this month as part of a management shake-up under CEO Cees 't Hart, a Dutch national, who has led the company since 2015 and is the first non-Dane to do so. Before joining Carlsberg he served as CEO of Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina and spent 25 years at Anglo-Dutch consumer products powerhouse Unilever UL.
"All in all, we are pleased with the good progress so far this year," 't Hart said during a conference call.
While Carlberg's bigger rivals Budweiser maker Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) of Leuven, Belgium, and Miller Genuine Draft maker SABMiller (SBMRY) , of the U.K., join forces in the industry's biggest-ever deal due to close later this year, Carlsberg has been selectively scaling back by closing plants in China (11 currently closed, according to Wednesday's presentation), cutting capacity in the U.K. and shedding some non-core assets.
Last week it announced the sale of its 59% stake in Carlsberg Malawi Ltd. to its joint venture partner, France's Castel Group, for an undisclosed amount.