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Carlsberg beer sales slump in wet UK summer

Danish brewer Carlsberg said it sold less beer in the UK last year as the wash-out summer offset a boost from Euro 2012 football and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The group, which is also behind the Kronenbourg 1664 brand, said UK volumes declined 3% in 2012.

Overall profits were flat at 9.8 billion Danish krone (£1.1bn), even though its seventh consecutive sponsorship of football's top tournament helped drive an 8% surge in Carlsberg volumes in premium markets.

The Copenhagen-based group, which acquired Scottish & Newcastle in partnership with Heineken in 2008, blamed challenging economic and consumer conditions for an overall decline in the western European market.

Despite losing out to competitors in supermarkets, it managed to increase its UK market share to 15.3% because of a "particularly good performance" in pubs, bars and restaurants.

Chief executive Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen said: "The group delivered a good performance in 2012 despite a challenging western European beer market."

But the group scrapped its medium-term profit margin target, blaming the costs of a project to integrate its western European supply chain and volatile costs, particularly in eastern Europe.

It expects operating profits to be 10bn Danish krone in 2013, including a 300 million to 400 million Danish krone hit as it integrates its western European supply chain.

Carlsberg said French volumes grew 1% as wholesalers and retailers stocked up, ahead of a 160% tax rise in the country, which came into effect on January 1, when Carlsberg increased its prices.

It also said Asian beer markets had shown strong momentum.

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