Carlsberg hit by Russian sales dip

A Carlsberg sign Carlsberg makes a quarter of its sales in Russia

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Danish brewer Carlsberg has reported a fall in profits for the first quarter of the year after being hit by a weak performance at its Russian business.

Russian distributors stocked up at the end of last year ahead of a tax rise.

Carlsberg reported a pre-tax profit of 59m krone ($10m; £6m) in the first three months of the year, down from 353m krone in the same period of 2011.

Carlsberg, the world's fourth biggest brewer, makes nearly a quarter of its sales in Russia.

Its market share in Russia rose to 38% in the first quarter, up from 36.8% in the fourth quarter of 2011, but its shipments to Russia were down 25%.

"In the traditionally small first quarter of the year, the group delivered continued solid growth and performance in Northern and Western Europe and Asia, while destocking impacted our Russian results as expected," said chief executive Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen.

Russia is the world's fourth largest beer market after China, the United States and Brazil.

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