Published On: Sun, Aug 20th, 2017

Carlsberg boss warns of further job cuts in the UK


The Danish brewer last year revealed it had axed more than 2,000 whitecollar jobs as part of the restructure and would outsource beer distribution in the UK, affecting about 900 jobs by March 2018.

It will leave Carlsberg UK with about 950 staff – chiefly across its brewery and head office in Northampton and its contact centre in Leeds.

Carlsberg chief executive Cees ‘t Hart said that additional job cuts at the Danish firm have not been taken off the table.

“You can never say that no cuts will be done in the future, so there are no promises on that one. However, we don’t have any other plans than we had announced more or less a year ago,” he said.

Mr ‘t Hart said Carlsberg was still “in the execution mode” of its turnaround plan, “so we’re not done yet”.

“But everybody who is involved in that, and is concerned, has been informed,” he added.

Carlsberg has its efficiency drive to thank for helping deliver a 20 per cent jump in half-year pre-tax profit to 3.8billion Danish krona (£4.6billion), despite a smaller 2 per cent rise in half-year revenues to 31.8billion Danish krona (£38.9billion).

Consumer appetite for more expensive drinks helped compensate for a drop in volumes in the half year to June 30, particularly in the UK where Carlsberg suffered a 7 per cent drop in volumes due to “tough” comparables following strong demand during the Euro 2016 football championship.

Carlsberg says its focus on “premium” brands and craft brews in Britain helped offset the impact.

In a bid to broaden its foothold in the craft market, the Danish firm’s UK arm snapped up Hackney’s London Fields Brewery in July.

It was a part of a joint venture with US brewer Brooklyn, which Mr ‘t Hart said will “make sure that this kind of spirit of craft brewers remain intact”.

“The London Fields Brewery was particularly attractive to us because we felt we could make a positive difference to the business in terms of our portfolio (and) tapping into some of the trends,” Mr ‘t Hart said.

While Carlsberg has increased craft and speciality drinks volumes by 25 per cent, the chief executive has given assurances that the Danish company was not on a mission to take over local brewers.

“We don’t have plans to certainly get into a kind of chain of acquisitions, or small acquisitions, as London Fields is,” he said.

Meanwhile, major consolidation has taken place at the top of the industry, with Anheuser-Busch InBev’s £79billion mammoth takeover of SABMiller having been completed last autumn.

But Mr ‘t Hart said the mega-deal has had little impact on Carlsberg, aside from Russia, where a mix of challenges resulted in a drop in market share and volume in the six months to June 30.


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