Page last updated at 11:55 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Carlsberg hit by Russian market

Man drinking beer
Russia is a key market for Carlsberg

Danish brewer Carlsberg has cut its full-year sales forecast after a sharp decline in the Russian market.

The firm says Russian beer sales contracted by 10% in the first nine months of the year and will continue to decline for the rest of 2009.

However, Carlsberg says its annual profit will not be hit because of increased efficiencies elsewhere.

The firm said third-quarter net income rose 22% to 1.49bn Danish kronor ($30m;£18m). Its shares fell as much as 5%.

'Challenging year'

Carlsberg said that the integration of Scottish & Newcastle had achieved cost savings of 725m Danish kronor. The UK brewer was bought by Carlsberg and Heineken last year, and its assets were divided between the two firms.

Chief executive Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen said Carlsberg was planning for "an equally challenging 2010".

Russia is debating a proposal to triple excise duties on beer which Carlsberg says will "clearly affect the beer market negatively".

A final decision on the bill is expected later this year. With 40% of the market, Carlsberg is the largest brewer in Russia and nearly half of its profits are generated there.

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