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Posted May 2013

Democratic Republic of Congo – Heineken’s Bralima launches Primus Radler

That’s a new one to me: comparing a Radler to champagne. But this is Heineken’s marketing twist in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). At the end of April 2013, the country’s beer market leader Bralima launched Primus Radler in the capital of Kinshasa. The 2 percent ABV Primus Radler made with lemon juice has been likened to a “véritable champagne congolais” – albeit packaged in what looks suspiciously like a 0.62 litre beer bottle.

Dutch brewer Heineken has been active in the DRC since the 1950s and purchased a majority share in Bralima in the late 1980s.

This year Bralima celebrates its 90th anniversary. This is no small feat, given that it was only in February 2013 that eleven African countries signed a peace treaty aimed at ending decades of conflict in the DRC (formerly called Zaire under its president Mobuto). The war, centred mainly in eastern Congo, had involved nine African nations and directly affected the lives of 50 million Congolese. The DRC is two thirds the size of western Europe and suffers from what is called the “resource curse”. Though enjoying great mineral wealth, the central government cannot control the borders with its nine neighbours. Much of the Congo's coltan, a mineral used in computers and mobile phones, is illegally exported through Rwanda, while precious tropical hardwoods are siphoned off through Uganda, reports the BBC.

Despite the country’s myriad problems, beer consumption has risen in recent years to 4.6 million hl in 2011 says Heineken. Per capita consumption is 7 litres.

Heineken’s Bralima, which operates six breweries across the country, is the market leader with a share of reportedly 59 percent. Its sole competitor is France’s Castel Group.

On the occasion of Bralima’s 90 years in business, Heineken decided to launch several new products. Primus Radler is one of them, the others are “Primus Spécial 90 ans” and “Turbo King” in the bigger 0.62 litre bottle. The Primus beer brand is ranked as Africa’s number four beer brand and is sold in the DRC plus Rwanda, Congo and Burundi.

Congolese media report that the retail price for Turbo King and Primus Spécial are 1,100 FC (USD 1.20). Primus Radler is more expensive at 1,200 FC (USD 1.31) per bottle. It retails at about the same price as Primus lager, which seems to be in keeping with Heineken’s overall pricing policy for Radlers. Given the bottle’s size, the Primus Radler is obviously meant for sharing.

It’s hard to predict how the DRC’s consumers will take to the Radler. Will drinkers shy away from it because it does not render the same “bang for the buck” as does Primus lager? Or will they go for it because of its novelty value? Ultimately, it does not matter if it flies or bombs. Because who will ever find out?

Still, Heineken has high hopes for Radlers in Africa and plans to roll out several over the next few months. Siep Hiemstra, head of Heineken's African operations, recently told media that beer consumption on the continent was still predominantly male, but Radlers could change women's perceptions.

Pious hopes or wishful thinking?

 

USA – AB-InBev seeks to buy more distributors

On 17 May 2013 AB-InBev snapped up another beer distributor. It bought C&G Distributing Company in Lima, Ohio, for an undisclosed sum, merely weeks before a new law comes into effect that prevents brewers in the state of Ohio from acquiring beer distributors.

It was never going to be quick, easy or uncontroversial. But if AB-InBev wants to grow U.S. profits, it has to cut out the middlemen – the distributors. Although the U.S. may be the most regulated beer market, thanks to its three-tier system, the protection this system awards to the distributors is not exactly universal. There are about 20 U.S. states which allow brewers to own distributors. AB-InBev, though working closely with more than 500 independent wholesalers across the country, already owns and operates 17 distributors, many of them in metropolitan areas.

A year ago, Harry Schumacher, the Editor-in-Chief of the trade publication Beer Business Daily, estimated that AB-InBev-owned distributors (in AB-InBev’s lingo “branches”) distribute 135 million cases (the equivalent of 10 million barrels/11.7 million hl) of beer, which translates into 5 percent of total U.S. beer. Or 10 percent of its own beer.

Beer distribution is a lucrative business. According to Mr Schumacher, distributors’ profits are about USD 1.0 per case. Read on

 

India – Heineken enters the battle of Indian beers

Is yours a Cobra or a Kingfisher? Indian beers have been round the UK’s 9,000 or so curry houses for years without making any real inroads into the more traditional beer market. This is not for lack of trying. Ever since brewer Molson Coors took a majority stake (50.1 percent) in Cobra Beer Partnership Ltd, a joint venture set up in 2009 with Cobra’s founder Lord Karan Bilimoria, volume sales have grown and in 2010 Cobra made its first ever profit in over a decade – it was founded in 1989. It is estimated to sell about 270,000 hl in the UK.

However, in 2011 it still trailed the list of top 20 beer brands in UK supermarkets according to Nielsen data. Kingfisher has fared even worse. According to Indian media, Kingfisher’s total sales in Europe were 1 million cases (90,000 hl), the majority of which were sold in Britain. Read on

 

Czech Republic – AB-InBev not interested in buying Budweiser Budvar

It was a bit of a damp squib: On 16 May 2013, following the recent developments in the EU-wide trademark registration case for Bud, AB-InBev’s top legal counsel Frank Hellwig tracked all the way to Prague for a special press conference to announce that the world’s major brewer was not interested in buying the Czech beer icon Budweiser Budvar and how did the country respond?  

Apparently, Czech Jo Sixpacks never registered this announcement as reports from the press conference did not make it into mainstream Czech media. Online media picked it up willingly enough but no major print publication carried the story. Which makes us wonder: Was this low-profile reporting really AB-InBev’s design?  

In any case, it’s hard to fathom if the Czechs are glad that the foreign predator, as they like to see AB-InBev, has given up its hunt for the state-owned brewery Budvar, although this would have been the first time that AB-InBev officially admitted such plans. Read on  

 

Australia – Coke needs to merge with either Lion or Foster’s

It’s a cruel world if you are a stock market-listed company. Only a week after Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) issued a profit warning, saying that EBIT for the six months ending June were expected to fall 8 or 9 percent, the first fall in first-half earnings for seven years, analysts argued that time was up for CCA and that it should seek to merge with rivals Lion or Foster’s.

The call for CCA to cease to exist as an independent company comes after CCA had taken advantage of the strength of the Coca-Cola brand to lift prices almost every year, thus recovering rising costs and boosting margins. The cost-recovery strategy has helped drive superior returns, with total shareholder returns up 98 percent over the last five years, Australian media reported in early May 2013.

A week later, on 13 May 2013, a piece in the Australian Financial Review publication said that combining beer and soft drinks makes more sense now. Analysts have begun to doubt CCA’s ability to recover lost volumes, sales and margins in the second half of this year to match the AUD 895.5 million (USD 895 million) in profits it made in 2012. To achieve a flat outcome for the year, the bottler will need to lift earnings by at least 7.5 percent in the second half, which many think a near-impossible feat. Read on

 

Austria - Together we are stronger

Why is it when you talk to Josef Sigl and his son Seppi of the Trumer Brewery you get the impression that they are fairly pleased with their lot? Is it because they regularly scoop prizes for Trumer Pils as the best German-style pilsner in the world - albeit always competing for the top spot with Trumer Pils brewed in Berkeley, United States, by their friends at the Gambrinus Company?

Or is it because they can still rely on the on-trade sector to sell most of their beer? According to Josef Sigl, 90 percent of their beer output is sold in pubs and restaurants across the country. That way, he says, he can buck the price dictatorship of the supermarkets.

Actually, Austria's brewers on the whole seem to have it much better than their neighbours do: they have been successful in maintaining high beer sales. Domestic beer sales have consistently hovered around the 8.5 million hl mark since 2000. Austrians, on average, drink about 107 litres (2012) per year, which is an astounding "self-preservation rate", as some Austrians jokingly put it, because on a global scale they are only bested by the Czech (145 litres per capita).

Therefore, it's widely assumed that brewers' profits aren't all that bad since Austrians like to enjoy a beer in company and in pubs (over 30 percent of volume sales are in the on-premise), where prices for 0.5 litre of beer range between EUR 3.80 and EUR 4.00 (USD 5.00 to USD 5.20).

Although Austria's brewers so far have been lucky in warding off the worst excesses of the Europe-wide ban on smoking in pubs - most pubs and restaurants have sections for smokers - which has helped on-trade sales, they nevertheless have had to contend with a gradual shift of volumes from the on-premise to the off-premise. As Mr Sigl readily admits, this has affected Trumer adversely. Though widening their distribution reach, volume sales have suffered.

However, high volumes and good profits cannot be the only reasons why the country's 170 or so brewers refrain from moaning about their lot. The sweep of globalisation did not stop at their borders. Dutch brewer Heineken owns Brau Union with eight breweries and a market share of 49 percent. The privately-owned Stiegl brewery and the Ottakringer brewery are ranked second and third and control about 20 percent of the market. This leaves the "Culturbrauereien" ("culture breweries"), a club of nine privately-owned breweries set up by Mr Sigl and Hubert Stöhr of the Schloss Eggenberg brewery in 2008, with merely 13 percent, media say.

Interestingly, market consolidation has not lead to a rift among brewers. If my observations are anything to go by, Austria's microbrewers don't feel compelled to adopt an "us-against-them" attitude that can be noticed elsewhere in Europe. Rather, what makes them stick out is a deeply felt enthusiasm for their craft, which in turn is fed by a generally positive societal attitude towards beer. In Austria, beer has not been turned into the scapegoat for all that ails society, nor has its status degenerated to a fast moving consumer good on par with washing powder, chocolates and coffee.

One reason for consumers still holding beer in high esteem is that brewers have put a lot of effort into underlining beer's cultural value. From Trumer's design-driven pub paraphernalia to their engagement in the arts, a lot of thought and effort has gone into emphasising beer's continuing relevance for a contemporary lifestyle. Stressing their beers' quality, diversity and regionality has helped too.

What is more, brewers have begun to put their faces to their beers. Taking their cue from the country's vintners, personality marketing is now a must. Some older readers will remember that Austria's vintners were in the doghouse for many years following the discovery of large-scale glycol adulterations in 1985. If vintners have since risen from the ashes to international acclaim it's because they have realised that in the public mind the link between "my name - my face - my honour" and their products works miracles. Read on

 

Australia - Coca-Cola Amatil and retailers quarrel over "the right price"

The recent spat between Coca-Cola Amatil's CEO Terry Davis and Australia's major retailers over why CCA's products are several times more expensive in Australia than, for example, in Thailand, is as much a political battle as it is an economic one.

Ian McLeod, the Managing Director of Coles, a chain of supermarkets, had complained to Australian media that Coca-Cola was two to three times more expensive in Australia than in Thailand. Mr McLeod mentioned the price of Coca-Cola in his renewed attack on multinational suppliers, saying consumers are paying too much for groceries.

This broadside apparently angered Mr Davis so much that he too used the media to reply: "Do we want to be a country that has no food security, do we want to be a country that pays our workers AUD 1.50 to AUD 2.50 (USD 1.50 to USD 2.50) an hour?" Read on

 

UK - New CEO for Diageo

The Indian-born Ivan Menezes, 53, currently Chief Operating Officer of Diageo, is to succeed Paul Walsh as CEO of the drinks giant behind Smirnoff and Guinness at the beginning of July this year.

Mr Walsh, 58, who has headed Diageo for the past 13 years, will stay on board until June 2014, though, to help with the transition, media reported on 7 May 2013. Many observers think that Mr Walsh will be mainly responsible for completing the purchase of a 53.4 percent stake in India’s biggest drinks maker United Spirits, which began in November 2012 and has since stalled.

Several media thought it worth mentioning that Mr Menezes, who joined Diageo in 1997, is yet another business leader who stems from a developing country to lead a FTSE100 consumer goods firm, joining fellow Indian Rakesh Kapoor, who heads Durex owned Reckitt Benckiser, and Nicandro Durante, the Brazilian at the helm of tobacco giant BAT.

Interestingly, media failed to mention SABMiller, another FTSE100 company. SABMiller's past and present CEO were both born in South Africa.

They could have also included in this list of CEOs the Brazilian-born Carlos Brito (AB-InBev), the Indian born Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo) and the Turkish-American Muhtar Kent (The Coca-Cola Company), although their respective companies are not listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Their appointment not only reflects a shift in their companies' focus from slow growth Europe to the booming emerging markets, as media commentators have said. It is also indicative, in my view, of a shift in management style. Read on

 

Denmark - Asia lights up Carlsberg's first quarter results

On 7 May 2013 Carlsberg reported a 22 percent rise in first-quarter operating profits and a 3 percent rise in revenues as strong beer sales in Asia more than compensated for sluggish European markets.

Beer sales in Asia accounted for nearly 20 percent of group revenue in the first quarter ending March, approaching Eastern Europe sales which accounted for 22 percent. The two-digit percentage rise in Asian revenue was helped by higher beer sales in countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia and India, as well as Carlsberg's increase in ownership at the Chongqing Jianiang Brewery joint venture. Read on


Netherlands - Heinken may sell its Dutch soft drink business

Is Heineken selling non-core businesses in a desperate attempt to lift this year's earnings? According to rumour, Heineken will off-load its Finnish business in the coming months. And on 3 May 2013 international media reported that the brewer is also seeking a buyer for its Vrumona soft-drink business in the Netherlands. Insiders say Vrumona could fetch at least EUR 500 million (USD 660 million). Add to that the EUR 590 million (USD 790 million) Heineken could reap from the sale of its Finnish subsidiary Hartwall and Heineken looks set to net about EUR 1.0 billion from this fire sale. While market observers have speculated that the Hartwall family's investment vehicle Hartwall Capital could be the most likely buyer for the Finnish business, thus returning it to the previous owners who sold it to brewer Scottish & Newcastle in 2002, no buyer has been mentioned yet for Vrumona. Read on

 

Germany - Anti-cartel bloodhounds are after Gaffel Brewery's co-owner

The Federation of Rhine-Westphalian Breweries is facing antitrust proceedings by the German authorities. According to Cologne newspapers of 30 April 2013, several of the Federation's top officials have been involved in illegal price fixing.

The Bonn-based antitrust authorities have now opened formal proceedings against Heinrich Becker, co-owner of the Gaffel Brewery in Cologne and President of the Federation as well as against his deputy Michael Hollmann, owner of the Bolten Brewery.
Mr Becker chaired at least two of the Federation's meetings in 2006 and 2007 when "anti-competitive price agreements" were taken which have led to "spiralling prices for draught and bottled beer", newspapers say. At the meetings Mr Hollmann, according to witness statements, instructed the Federation's Secretary to delete controversial paragraphs from the protocol, saying that these "are not for the eyes of the competition watchdogs". Both Mr Becker and Mr Hollmann sit on the board of the German Brewers' Association.

In March this year, it was revealed that the competition watchdog is investigating more than a dozen German brewing companies with a combined market share of 50 percent over illegal practices. A spokesperson for the antitrust body confirmed investigations into 14 national brewing companies plus one industry federation but would not disclose further details. Read on  

Australia - SABMiller asks government to freeze beer excise

In an April 2013 submission to the Federal Treasury, Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), the Australian unit of SABMiller (formerly known as Foster's) maintained that "the beer industry is no longer recession proof and it’s time that beer received similar favours to those enjoyed by wine and other beverages." CUB asked the Treasurer to follow the lead of the UK government, which earlier this year cut beer excise for the first time in over half a century, saying that tax now makes up 50 percent of the price of a case of VB, its major-selling beer. Read on


Ireland - Craft is it

It seems to be a common feature of mature beer markets around the world: volumes of craft beer rise while overall beer consumption declines. Same in Ireland. For several years now, beer consumption has gone south. Last year it dropped 1.8 percent on 2011 while the value of the beer market dipped by a similar 1.8 percent or EUR 400 million to EUR 2.45 billion, says Heineken. Per capita beer consumption now stands at about 86 litres, down from 90 litres in 2010. In response to this trend, major brewers have rejigged their strategies. U.S.-Canadian brewer Molson Coors, though a distant number three player in Ireland (behind Diageo and Heineken), has recently launched a range of craft beers – The Craft Collection – which, it claims, will bring together its "growing range of award-winning Irish and international craft beers for pubs and off-licences across Ireland under one umbrella brand offering". Read on


Belgium - AB-InBev blames it on the weather

Now we all know why AB-InBev is so keen on closing the Modelo deal: Corona beer is expected to bring home the bacon as the world's number one brewer is facing declining volumes in its most important markets. On 30 April 2013 AB-InBev reported that volumes in most markets, except for China, had fallen in the first quarter. Overall beer sales were down 4.1 percent in the first quarter 2013. Beer volumes in Brazil, one of its key markets, declined by 8.2 percent while there was a fall of 5 percent in North America. Read on

 

USA – AB-InBev plans to enter Vietnam

Not wanting to be left out in the rush to the next Clondyke, AB-InBev’s CEO Carlos Brito told shareholders on 24 April 2013 at AB-InBev’s Annual Shareholders’ Meeting (ASM) that his company plans to join rivals in Vietnam at the end of 2014 with the construction of a brewery. Vietnam, which has a population of 90 million people, is seen as one of the most attractive markets in the region for brewers. Beer sales are expected to grow by about 10 percent per year on average for 2010 to 2020, it was reported. Mr Brito said that AB-InBev already has the land licence.

Rivals Carlsberg, Heineken and SABMiller all have operations in Vietnam, either directly or through joint ventures.

According to media, Mr Brito at the ASM also expressed his delight that AB-InBev was nearing the end of its planned USD 20 billion full takeover of Mexico's Grupo Modelo after settling its dispute with the U.S. Justice Department on 19 April 2013. Read on

 

Israel - Beer tax hike turns law

In order to stuff the big holes in the country’s budget, the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, has doubled the sales tax on beer. On 23 April 2013 the Knesset’s financial committee decided to increase the sales tax on beer to NIS 4.20 (EUR 0.90) from NIS 2.18 (EUR 0.46) per litre, despite sharp criticism from industrial brewers and noisy protests from the many smaller breweries, which in Israel are called "beer boutiques". The Finance Ministry expects the sales tax increase to sweep about an extra EUR 60 million into their coffers.

The radical tax increase was already introduced about a year ago through a temporary regulation. This has now been replaced by a law. The beer lobby has been ineffective in preventing this damaging tax hike, unlike the students, who through their protests managed to convince politicians not to hike the already exorbitantly high tuition fees.

Sadly, though, for their favourite drink, students will have to dig deeper into their empty pockets. Instead of the previous NIS 12-13 (EUR 2.80) per bottle of beer, they will have to continue forking out NIS 15-16 (EUR 3.40).

The country’s major brewers, the Central Bottling Company (whose licensed brands include Coca-Cola and Carlsberg) and Tempo (in which Heineken holds a stake) with a combined market share of around 98 percent, may be able to absorb some of the tax increase. But it’s the two dozen or so microbreweries which will suffer the most. With the prices of draught beer such as Goldstar (manufactured by Tempo) set to rise to NIS 30 (EUR 6.40/USD 8) and a craft beer to NIS 34 (EUR 7.20/USD 9) per half-litre, the new tax may also drive consumers to purchase more of the larger brewers’ products.

By waving through this tax hike, Israeli politicians give lie to their argument that the ensuing price increase for beer will help fight alcoholism. In pubs across the country a small glass of beer with 4% to 5% ABV costs as much as a glass of Arak, a local spirit, with 40% to 50% ABV. "Boozers will now switch to hard spirits permanently”, brewers fear.

Besides, Israel is not really a country of beer guzzlers. Beer production stood at merely 1 million hl in 2011 according to the Barth Report, which translates into a per capita consumption of 13 litres.

Israel’s brewers employ about 2,000 people, many of whom will face redundancy especially those employed by the smaller operators. The jobless rate stood at 6.7 percent of the labour force at the end of February this year. Many brewers wonder why the sales tax was doubled on beer but not on wine? The taxman’s response: because there is no sales tax levied on wine at all.

 

Australia - Asahi buys beer brand Cricketers Arms

Since Lion, Foster’s and even Coca-Cola Amatil are so heavily into craft beers, Asahi decided it did not want to be the odd one out. But rather than develop its own craft beer brand, at the end of April 2013 it decided to buy a brand that was already launched in 2009: Cricketers Arms.

Now Cricketers Arms is not a typical craft beer. Because many Australian commentators have called it a “session beer” – the usual put-down used by craft brewers for non-extreme beers – its creators have instead opted for the moniker “mainstream craft”. Whatever that is.

However, Cricketers Arms has a good story to it. The man behind the brand is the Melbourne entrepreneur and former publican Paul Scott, who has had Cricketers Arms contract-brewed at the Mildura Brewery (an outback town 500 km to the north of Melbourne) since 2009. He seems to have been quite good at brand building because today you can find the beer in most of the major liquor store chains. Read on

 

 

Germany – Gaffel brewery’s owners fight like Cain and Abel in the courts

In the carnival-mad city of Cologne revellers usually fall into a deep depression with the onset of Lent. Thanks to the on-going and highly publicised spat between the brothers Heinrich and Johannes Becker for control of the Gaffel brewery it’s now carnival all year round.

When the brothers, who are in their sixties, inherited the brewery from their father in 1972, everything seemed to be fine. Both got an equal stake in the brewery with clearly demarcated responsibilities and duties.

No one can remember when things turned sour at Gaffel or even why the brothers fell out with each other. In any case, their private quarrels turned public after Johannes was expelled from the board of management in 2006 and dragged Heinrich to court over this. Since then they have seen each other mostly in court.

To date, over a dozen lawsuits have been filed by one or the other. While local media get enormous mileage out of their quarrel, comparing it to that between Cain and Abel, judges seem to have grown rather tired of having to deal with the Beckers. One judge actually told them to pull themselves together and sort this out pronto. Read on

 

USA – Shiner beer launched in New York City

They don’t seem to rush things down in Texas. Although the Gambrinus Company ranks fourth among U.S. craft brewers in terms of volume, it has up till now avoided selling its Shiner beers in New York City. Finally, in mid-April its Texan beer brand Shiner was hit by the city’s limelight – not literally, hopefully.

Shiner is a bit of an anomaly among the U.S. craft beers as the Spoetzl brewery celebrated its 100th birthday a few years ago. But as in Texas things move at a different pace to the rest of the country, it could be argued that Shiner has always been “craft” - before “craft beer” was even invented. Therefore, it’s more than just a nice a nice touch that on its website the brewery lists all its brewmasters to date. It has only had six in its 104 year long history, with Jimmy Maurice, the current one, appointed in 2003. Actually, Jimmy is a local boy from Shiner. This proves to show that at the Spoetzl brewery they take their traditions seriously.

Still, more likely, the Gambrinus people prefer to wait until the time is right before they take their beer places. Especially if the destination is snotty New York City. Read on

 

UK – SABMiller’s Mackay treated for brain tumour

Given that he stood at the helm of stock market-listed SABMiller, the brewer had to make a personal misfortune public knowledge for fear it might affect its share price negatively: its Chief Executive Graham Mackay has had surgery for a brain tumour. Therefore, he will be replaced by the group's Chief Operating Officer Alan Clark with immediate effect.

Mr Mackay, who is aged 63, underwent surgery on 22 April 210, and his role will be kept “under review pending the outcome of his treatment,” SABMiller said in a statement on 23 April 2013. Mr Mackay had been due to take the position of Chairman in July, at the company’s annual general meeting. SABMiller announced the leadership change in April last year.

Because of Mr Mackay’s illness the board has accelerated the planned promotion of Chief Operating Officer Alan Clark to CEO.

Mr Mackay has led the brewer since it listed in London in 1999, overseeing a string of major acquisitions, the AUD 10.5 billion (USD 10.8 billion) takeover of Foster’s Group in 2011 being the latest.

In the light of his illness, several articles have focused on pointing out his past achievements, sadly making them sound like an antedated farewell. Read on

 

UK – SABMiller benefits from growing demand for beer in Africa

Global brewer SABMiller reported on 17 April 2013 that it saw a 7 percent rise in its full year organic revenue (until end March 2013), boosted by strong demand in Africa and a surprisingly resilient demand in Europe.

In Africa full-year lager volumes have grown 6 percent on an organic basis. In the final quarter (January through March) sales were up 9 percent. However, lager volumes in Latin America dropped 1 percent in the final quarter, hit by softer economic conditions and a price increase in some markets. Read on

 

Netherlands – Heineken has a very poor start of the year

That’s what you get for being dependent upon Europe. Heineken, the world’s number three brewer, tempered its expectations for annual growth after reporting an unexpected decline in first-quarter sales on 24 April 2013.

The brewer said that sales volumes and revenues would grow this year, but probably at rates lower than in 2012. Previously Heineken had forecasted that growth in 2013 would be in line with last year’s.

Obviously, Heineken fears that conditions in austerity-hit markets in Europe as well as a slowdown in Nigerian sales will continue to hamper this year’s sales.

In addition to sliding sales in western Europe, the brewer also reported lower volumes in the central and eastern part of the continent, Asia Pacific and the Americas.

The first quarter is always a bad quarter for Heineken because of it falling squarely into Europe’s winter. Last year, the first three months represented 21 percent of consolidated beer volume and considerably less in terms of profit contributions, it was reported. However, it must have been a real blow to Heineken that sales in African and the Americas could not offset Europe’s disappointing performance. Read on

 

Denmark – Carlsberg’s man in Asia leaves

Oops – what can it possible mean that Carlsberg’s head of the brewer’s Asia division decided to leave all of a sudden? The world's number four brewer announced on 24 April 2013 that Roy Bagattini, 49, is leaving to take a job at fashion group Levi Strauss & Company as Executive Vice President and President of Commercial Operations, Asia Pacific, in June 2013.

Mr Bagattini joined Carlsberg in 2009, having been poached from SABMiller, where he had worked for eighteen years in a variety of CEO and general management roles in Russia, China, India, Italy and the United States.

So it’s jeans now for Mr Bagattini and more of a worry for Carlsberg’s CEO Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen. The company seems to have been unaware of Mr Bagattini’s intended career move. That’s why Carlsberg’s CEO will take on Mr Bagattini’s responsibilities until a successor to Mr Bagattini has been found. Mr Rasmussen said that the new Asia chief would need commercial as well as M&A qualifications.

Mr Rasmussen insisted that Carlsberg would not lose focus on its expansion in the region. Read on

 

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