The Carlsberg Group has reported a net revenue increase for 2018 of 3%, rising to $9.53bn, the first sales jump in three years for the Danish company.
The strong sales have been driven by its core and craft beer ranges, along with the success of its no-alcohol and low-alcohol brands. Overall the company's craft and speciality portfolio grew by 26%, helped by brands such as 1664 Blanc and Brooklyn Lager, while it's no-alcohol portfolio saw 33% growth in Western Europe. The company's Baltika 0 brand grew by 35% in Russia.
A number of factors played a part in the positive filings - namely the warm weather in Western Europe during summer 2018, the football World Cup, as well as "improved energy efficiency and reduced relative carbon emissions across our operations by 5%".
Full year operating profits increased by 5.1% to $1.42bn.
The company focused on acquisitions in 2018, taking a 28.5% stake in Super Bock Group owner Viacer, as well as a majority stake in Cambodian brewer Cambrew Ltd. In early February 2018 Carlsberg fully acquired Greek brewer Olymic Brewery, whose brands include Mythos and FIX Hellas.
On an environmental level, Carlsberg notably removed plastic rings from multipacks of beer, replacing them with glue, which the company claimed would “reduce plastic waste globally by more than 1,200 tonnes a year”.
"We delivered a strong set of results for 2018," Cees 't Hart, Carlsberg's CEO, said in a press release. "We accelerated top-line growth, improved margins, delivered a strong cash flow and reduced debt even further. At the same time, we invested significant resources in our brands and activities, and we continue to target top-line growth and profit improvement in the coming years."