Katarina Gustafsson Stockholm

CARLSBERG reported first-quarter profit yesterday that beat estimates, as the brewer increased its leading share of the Russian beer market and sales surged in Asia.

Earnings before interest and tax, excluding some one-time items, rose 15 percent to 661 million Danish kroner (R1 billion), the Danish maker of Tuborg said. A survey of 13 analysts had expected 624 million kroner on average.

Carlsberg gained as much as 5.5 percent in Copenhagen trading, the steepest intraday advance in 11 months. The stock rebounded after falling 7.2 percent in April.

In Russia, where the government has raised beer taxes and increased regulation on alcohol sales, Carlsberg extended its market leadership with investment to support premium beers and local brands.

Carlsberg reiterated its full-year forecast after Heineken cut its outlook last month and Anheuser-Busch InBev’s earnings missed estimates.

“I find some comfort in them winning market share in the Russian market,” said Alm Brand analyst Stig Nymann. “They have had some strong initiatives in the quarter.”

Carlsberg said its share of the Russian beer market rose to 38.4 percent in the quarter from 37.6 percent a year earlier, citing data from researcher Nielsen. The market shrank at a mid-single digit pace, it said.

Carlsberg said organic beer volume in Asia rose 14 percent in the quarter. Including takeovers, volume was up 18 percent, with particularly strong growth in Vietnam, Cambodia and India, helped by increased ownership in the Chongqing Jianiang Brewery venture.

Asian growth helped offset the effects of declining beer markets in western Europe.

Carlsberg’s first-quarter sales advanced to 13.28 billion kroner from 12.78 billion kroner a year earlier. – Bloomberg