November 2, 2017 / 8:11 AM / a year ago

Carlsberg lifts 2017 operating profit guidance though third-quarter sales slip

A logo of Carlsberg beer is seen on the entrance of a pub in Brussels, Belgium March 10, 2016. REUTERS/Yves Herman

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish brewer Carlsberg (CARLb.CO) lifted its operating profit guidance for 2017 on Thursday even as it continued to lose market share in Russia, its biggest market, in the third quarter.

The company said in a trading update that it expects organic operating profit growth of 7-8 percent in 2017, up from an earlier expectation of “mid-single-digit” percentage growth.

Carlsberg’s third-quarter net revenue slipped 1 percent in the quarter from a year earlier to 16.7 billion Danish crowns ($2.62 billion), below the 17.1 billion expected by analysts in a Reuters poll.

The slip came as total volumes came in at 32.1 million hectoliters, well below analyst expectations of 38.1 million, in part due to cool weather in Europe.

“Our Western European business was impacted by the poor weather during the summer,” the company said.

In the key Russian market, Carlsberg said it continued to lose market share in the third quarter.

Russian initiatives to discourage drinking have included banning the sale of beer in so-called PET bottles, popular plastic bottles larger than 1.5 liters, which has hurt sales in Carlsberg’s biggest market.

“The Russian market declined as a result of the PET restrictions,” the brewer said.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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