酒闻：Carlsbergeyes 5pc rise in China sales in 2012 as Europe sales
February 15, Carlsberg AS, the world's fourth-largest brewer, is eyeing 5 percent growth in China this year to compensate for sagging sales in the Europe, where a recession is taking place.
Carlsberg chief executive officer Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen said in Beijing earlier this week that his company forecast a 5 percent rise in beer sales from China, and would seek more acquisition opportunities in the country and Asia at large.
"Beer is not completely recession proof," Rasmussen told Bloomberg on Monday.
As beer sales in Europe and the U.S. start to slow amid tough economic conditions and already satiable demand, international brewers are increasingly targeting emerging markets such as China for growth.
"The 5 percent target is just average compared to domestic brewers, but part of the reasons behind the medium growth estimate lies in Carlsberg's market penetration," China Investment Consulting analyst Zhou Siran told the China Business News.
Carlsberg mainly operates in western China markets, where beer consumption lags behind that in the coastal East, according to Zhou.
"Besides, competition is really hotting up as domestic brands such as CR Snow have made quick and big moves to snap up more market share," Zhou said.
China Resources Snow Breweries Co. Ltd. is one of China's strongest home-grown beer brands, boasting a high market penetration rate in East China and southern provinces including Jiangxi and Fujian.
"But in West China Carlsberg is on top, holding more than 50 percent of the market share, and there's growing appetite and purchasing power for beer in those regions," the analyst said.
The CEO said China's beer market boasts large room for growth and Carlsberg would continue to invest here and seek acquisition opportunities, without elaborating on any potential deals.
The Copenhagen-based company last year expanded its partnership with Chongqing Brewery Co. Ltd. (600132.SH) in western China.