Carlsberg increases share of Russian beer market to 38.4% in Q1 from 37.6% in year-ago period, company says; Baltika Kuler, Baltika 7, Zatecky Gus, Zhigulevskoye, Holsten brands among growth drivers in nation

MOSCOW , May 8, 2013 () – Danish brewing concern Carlsberg, the owner of OJSC Baltika Brewing Company (RTS: PKBA), increased its share of the Russian beer market 38.4% this first quarter from 37.6% a year earlier, a Carlsberg statement citing Nielsen data says.

The growth drivers were sales of the labels Baltika Kuler, Baltika 7, Zatecky Gus, Zhigulevskoye, and Holsten, the company said. However, the Russian beer market is estimated to have contracted less than 9% on average in Q1.

Company product shipments within Russia in January-March were up 6%, as they were - to 770 million liters - in the Eastern Europe region with which Carlsberg associates Russia. In the first quarter, Russian distributors reduced their beer stocks by 80 million liters, which they had purchased in the fourth quarter of last year. That was 50 million liters less than in Q1 2012. With the change in warehouse inventory, Carlsberg shipments in Russia were down 2%.

Carlsberg's Russian business generally continues to demonstrate growth, the company said.

The first quarter proved more successful for Baltika's owner than for its competitors. Anheuser-Busch InBev, summing up at the end of April, reported a 17% drop in sales in Russia due to legal restrictions on the trade in and advertising of beer, as well as price hikes in the wake of excise increases. Heineken also noted a drop in Q1 sales in the country due to the ban on the selling of beer out of kiosks and to higher excises.

Carlsberg's revenue overall rose 3% to 67.2 billion Danish krone ($12 billion) in 2012.

Carlsberg has over 500 beer labels in its portfolio, including Carlsberg, Tuborg, Baltika, and Kronenbourg 1664.

Carlsberg completed the buyout of the remaining minority shareholders in Baltika last year. It announced on November 29 that the company had obtained 100% ownership of Baltika at a total purchase price of 4.3 billion Danish krone following a successfully executed voluntary offer and compulsory purchase.

Baltika was de-listed from the Moscow Exchange in October.

Baltika has 10 breweries in Russia and one in Azerbaijan. It delivers product to more than 75 countries worldwide and accounts for 70% of Russian beer exports.

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