Carlsberg’s global chief executive Cees’t Hart said India is ‘two steps forward, one step back’ for the Danish brewer after it posted flat volume growth in the country, where the company has historically expanded in double digits.
“It’s a volatile environment. We used to say, two steps forward and one step back. The third quarter indeed was one of these quarters that is one step back,” Hart said at an investor call last week. “It was impacted by price and excise tax increase in a couple of states. Therefore, we need to see how that basically impacts further growth.”
India’s third-largest brewer has about 18% share, and is among the fastest in terms of boosting market share and revenue growth. Last calendar year, it grew 19% in volumes and 27% by value on a lower base as the industry clambered out of the decline caused by the highway vending ban.
However, Carlsberg’s volume growth fell sharply to 5% during the January-June period due to a stronger base in 2018 and election-related disruptions that restricted supplies, production and dispatches.
The parent company in its long-term strategy, Sail 22, has identified China, India and Vietnam as key drivers for growth. This justifies Carlberg’s aggressive expansion – it now has eight breweries in India.