Bleak outlook for European beer markets

Carlsberg expects the decline in European beer markets to get worse over the next three years.

The Danish brewer believes the impact of the eurozone crisis will have lasting ramifications for the region, with western and northern European markets set to perform poorly for the foreseeable future.

“On the short-term horizon, the next few years, three years perhaps, it is hard to see that this category will return to growth,” said Carlsberg chief executive Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen. “It will if anything continue to fall, perhaps even more than we have seen in the last few years.”

Carlsberg makes around half its profits from western and northern Europe.

The world’s fourth-largest brewer does, however, expect to see a return to growth in its Russian and eastern European markets over the course of 2012.

Carlsberg, which makes Kronenbourg and Tuborg in addition to its eponymous flagship brand, said in November last year that it was planning for the worst possible business conditions in 2012 and was seeking ways to keep costs down in anticipation of the escalation of the eurozone crisis.

The brewer has forecast a low single-digit percentage decline in northern and western European markets in 2011 as a whole, but the decline could intensify in 2012, according to Rasmussen.

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