Carlsberg profit lags as Russia stalls

Danish brewer Carlsberg reported a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit after sales stalled in its key Russia market and fell in western Europe.

The world's fourth biggest brewery scrapped its long-term margin forecasts due in part to market uncertainty, although it forecast operating earnings in 2013 to rise slightly to around 10 billion Danish crowns ($1.79 billion) from 9.8 billion a year earlier.

The group's operating profit (before special items) in the fourth quarter rose to 2.15 billion Danish crowns ($384.79 million), slightly lagging an average 2.30 billion crowns estimate in a Reuters poll.

"For 2013, the Carlsberg Group expects beer market dynamics for all three regions to be similar to 2012," the company said in a statement.

"2013 volumes are expected to be impacted by destocking in France and Russia," it said.

Fourth-quarter revenue rose to 15.93 billion, exceeding an average 15.63 billion crowns estimate in the poll.

It forecast a mid-single digit percentage rise in annual adjusted net profit.

(Reporting by Copenhagen Newsroom)