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Frequently Asked Questions

On this page, you will find answers to frequently asked questions. Click on the relevant topic to go directly to FAQ section.

What is the Group’s strategy?

We launched our strategy, Accelerate SAIL, in February 2024. It builds on our previous strategy, SAIL’27, which was developed by a broad group of leaders and employees in late 2021 and early 2022 – before the war in Ukraine and subsequent high inflation. These significant events, in addition to COVID-19, meant that the focus was on successfully navigating through these shorter-term challenges.

With the impact from these major disruptions decreasing, the Executive Committee and extended leadership team conducted a review of the SAIL’27 priorities in late 2023 and early 2024, leading to the refreshed Accelerate SAIL strategy.

Accelerate SAIL focuses on five strategic levers – portfolio, geographies, execution, culture and funding the journey – for which we have made distinct strategic choices, defining the focus of our efforts and resource allocation. Our strategic levers and choices should be viewed as an integrated set of activities that together will drive shareholder value.

Read more about Accelerate SAIL here.

What are your long-term financial ambitions?

By executing Accelerate SAIL, we believe we can successfully capture long-term growth opportunities. Our long-term growth financial ambitions are:

  • Organic revenue growth of 4-6% CAGR
  • Organic operating profit growth above revenue growth

Our capital allocation priorities – in place since 2016 – remain unchanged.

Why don’t you have a long-term operating margin target?

Due to the many uncertainties, the volatility and large margin differentials between markets, brands and categories, it is very difficult to predict future percentage margins. However, we intend to grow organic operating profit faster than revenue, thereby improving operating margin over time.

Why do you provide an annual financial guidance, and why have you occasionally changed the guidance ahead of quarterly reports?

According to Danish regulations, a listed company must provide the market with its expectations for the coming fiscal year. These should be expressed as the expected level for key figures, such as revenue or earnings. The expectations should include the underlying key assumptions.

The Danish FSA considers any changes to previously announced expectations as insider information. Consequently, as soon as the company has this information, it must be disclosed. Disclosure cannot be postponed and included in the next quarterly announcement.

What are your capital allocation principles, including target for leverage and pay-out ratio?

Our capital allocation principles have been unchanged since 2016:

  1. Invest in the business to drive long-term value creation.
  2. Maintain a conservative balance sheet with NIDB/EBITDA below 2x.
  3. Maintain a payout ratio of approx. 50%.
  4. Distribute excess cash to shareholders through share buy-backs and/or extraordinary dividends.
  5. If value-enhancing acquisition opportunities arise, we may deviate temporarily from the above.

Why have you chosen to do share buybacks instead of extraordinary dividends, and why do you perform the buybacks in either quarterly or half-year tranches?

Since the initiation of the first recent share buy-back programme in February 2019, the buy-back programme has been split into half-year or quarterly tranches in order to give the Group the flexibility to adjust for M&As and overall business development. Read more about dividends and share buy-back here.

In how many markets do you have a number 1 or 2 position?

We have a number 1 or 2 position in 21 markets across our three regions:

  • 7 in Western Europe
  • 5 in Asia
  • 8 in Central & Eastern Europe and India

How big is Carlsberg's exposure to emerging markets?

Approx. 60% of total volumes is sold and 45% of revenue is generated in emerging markets, calculated using the MSCI classification (although we have included Greece as a developed market).

What are your largest beer brands and how much do they account for?

Tuborg is our largest brand, accounting for approximately 15% of total volumes.

Carlsberg is our second largest brand, accounting for around 10% of total volumes.

What proportion of volumes are alcohol-free brews?

Alcohol-free brews (fermented products with less than 0.5% ABV) account for approx. 3% of total volumes.

What proportion of volumes are low- and no-alcoholic?

Low- and no-alcoholic products, defined as all products (water, soft-drinks and beers etc) with less than 3.5% ABV, account for approx. 29% of total volumes.

What is premium beer, and what is the exposure?

The definition of premium beer is beer sold at price index > 120 compared to mainstream (there may be differences in classifications due to local circumstances). As a consequence, a brand can be mainstream in one market but premium in another depending in the local positioning. Premium beer accounts for 20% of total volumes.

What is core beer?

Core beer comprise our strong local mainstream brands. Core beer accounts for 59% of total volumes.

What are other beverages?

Other beverages (approximately 19% of total volumes) include soft drinks, water, energy drinks etc.

In which markets do you have bottling agreements with The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo?

We are Pepsi bottlers in Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Cambodia and Laos.

We are Coca-Cola bottlers in Denmark and Finland.

What is the volume split between the on-trade and off-trade channel?

In 2023, on-trade accounted for around 27% of Group volumes.


What are the key elements in your ESG programme?

Our ESG programme Together Towards ZERO and Beyond is based on our most material issues, and includes ambitious targets for sustainable agriculture, reducing packaging waste, eliminating carbon emissions and reducing water consumption. It also encompass our actions to source responsibly, promote diversity, equity and inclusion, respect human rights, live by our Compass and engage communities responsibly.

Read more about Together Towards ZERO and Beyond here.

What is you packaging break-down?

Packaging mix is (2023): Cans 33.5%, refillable glass bottles 30.5%, non-refillable glass bottles 12.3%, PET 16.0%, kegs 6.2% and bulk 1.1%. Read more in our ESG report here.

What is thermal energy break-down?

Thermal energy break-down (2023) is natural gas 62.8%, coal 0%, district heating 4.7%, district heating from renewable energy 5.2%, heavy fuel 5.1%, renewable energy 12% and light fuel 7.7%. Read more in our ESG Report here.

Do you have targets for diversity, and what is the female representation on the leadership team?

DE&I is important for Carlsberg. We have set targets for women in senior leadership roles for 2024 (30%), 2027 (35%) and 2030 (40%). In 2023, we reached our 2024 target of 30% of senior leadership roles being held by women.

In the Supervisory Board, the objective is to achieve a gender diversity target of 40%. The current gender balance on the Supervisory Board, including employee representatives, is 33%. Excluding the employee representatives, three out of nine members elected by the Annual General Meeting are women (33%).


What is your M&A strategy?

In line with the SAIL’27 strategy, Accelerate SAIL focuses on driving organic top- and bottom-line growth. However, if value-accretive acquisition opportunities arise, we want to participate.

What acquisitions have you done in recent years?


  • Acquisition of 20% of the shares in Mikkeller (super-premium brewer) in Denmark


  • Acquisition of the Kronenbourg brand rights in the UK
  • Acquisition of Waterloo Brewing in Canada.


  • Acquisition of Wernesgrüner Brewery in Germany.


  • Acquisition of the Brooklyn brand rights in our markets.
  • Acquisition of Marston’s brewing activities in the UK.
  • Completion of the material asset restructuring in China, whereby Carlsberg and Chongqing Brewery Co. contributed their controlled assets to the joint venture Chongqing Jianiang.


  • Acquisition of a non-controlling stake in the Chinese craft brewery Jing-A Brewing Co.
  • Purchase of the remaining 1.2% of Carlsberg Ukraine, giving the Group 100% ownership.
  • Purchase of the remaining 25% of Cambrew in Cambodia, giving the Group 100% ownership.
  • Completion of the disposals of the former brewery sites in Trondheim, Norway, and Hamburg, Germany

What are the components of executive remuneration?

Our overall executive remuneration packages are set to align with our ambition, our strategic priorities and our purpose of brewing for a better today and tomorrow. Executive remuneration includes a fixed salary, variable incentive awards in the form of an annual cash bonus (short-term incentive) and participation in long-term incentive awards and other usual benefits. Since 2016, the long-term incentive award has been awarded as performance shares.

Read our Remuneration Policy here.

What KPIs are included in your short- and long-term incentive schemes?

In 2023, the short-term incentive scheme (annual bonus) comprised two elements:

1. The first element, accounting for 80% of the bonus, was based on three financial measures: organic revenue growth, organic operating profit and addressable cash flow. 

2. The second element, accounting for 20%, was linked to specific strategic objectives.

The KPIs in the long-term incentive plan for 2023-2025 included relative total shareholder return (TSR), growth in adjusted EPS at constant currencies, organic revenue growth, ROIC at constant currencies and ESG (diversity, carbon emissions and water usage). Each KPI accounted for 25%.

Read more in the Remuneration Report here.

How many representatives from the Carlsberg Foundation are in the Supervisory Board?

The Carlsberg Foundation has two representatives in the Supervisory Board. A representative from the Carlsberg Foundation holds the position of Deputy Chair. Read more about corporate governance here.

Why do you have five employee representatives in the Supervisory Board?

This is required by Danish law.

Does Carlsberg have a whistle blower system?

Yes. Our SpeakUp line is available for everyone internally and externally. Reports can be made anonymously. Read more here.

How large proportion of ownership is the Carlsberg Foundation required to have?

The Carlsberg Foundation must hold at least 51% of the votes in Carlsberg A/S. The Foundation currently holds 30% of the capital and 76% of the votes. The Foundation participates pro rata in the share buy-back. Read more about the Carlsberg Foundation here. You can read the Carlsberg Foundation’s charter here.

What is the difference between A- and B-shares?

The A-shares carry 20 votes/share. The B-shares carry 2 votes/share. Both share classes are listed on the Copenhagen stock exchange. Read more here.

What is your credit ratings and your bond programme?

You can read more about our credit ratings, and update from credit agencies, our bond programme and ECP programme here.

What does COGS comprise?

The rule-of-thumb for COGS, excluding the purchases of finished goods, at Group level is as follows:

1) Approx. 25% of COGS are raw materials, such as malt, un-malted barley, wheat, rice, sugar, hops etc. The largest raw material is malt, accounting for approx. 45% of raw materials costs. Looking at malt specifically, c. 60-70% is barley and c. 30-40% is conversion cost.

2) Approx. 45% of COGS are packaging materials, such as aluminium, glass, PET for both primary and secondary packaging, paper and cardboard, caps, labels, pallets and so on. The largest packaging category is cans, accounting for around 40% of our packaging costs. For cans, around 40% are the aluminium costs and 60% are conversion cost. The second largest packaging category is glass, accounting for c. 30% of our packaging costs.

3) The remaining 30% of COGS are non-material costs, such as labour, utilities, depreciation and so on.

The break-down can vary significantly year-by-year and country-by-country.

Do you hedge commodities and what is the policy?

Yes, we hedge commodities to minimise risk and create transparency.

For malt (barley) and aluminum, the two most significant commodity exposures, Group policy is to have a minimum of 70% hedged for a given year no later than by the end of the third quarter of the previous year, with a target hedge ratio of 90% at the beginning of the year in question.

Read more about hedging in the Annual Report, page 68.

What is the difference between the Carlsberg A/S ("Carlsberg Group") and Carlsberg Breweries A/S?

Carlsberg A/S is the listed entity that own 100% of Carlsberg Breweries A/S that own all operating companies. Carlsberg A/S has no other major activities.

What is the ownership structure in China?

In December 2020, we merged our fully controlled Chinese assets with the brewery assets of Chongqing Brewery Company (listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange) into an existing JV: Chongqing Jianiang.

The Carlsberg Group owns 60% of Chongqing Brewery Company, while the remaining 40% is free float. The JV Chongqing Jianiang is owned 49% by Carlsberg Group and 51% by Chongqing Brewery Company.

Consequently, the Carlsberg Group’s total economic interest in Chongqing Jianiang (where all brewery activities are placed) is 79%.

The Chinese business is fully consolidated in Carlsberg Group accounts.

What is the accounting treatment of the Indian business and what happens when call/put option is exercised?

The Group fully consolidates the Indian business. In accordance with the Group’s accounting policy, shares subject to put options are consolidated as if the shares had already been acquired. The 100% ownership percentage at which the Indian business is consolidated therefore differs from the legal ownership interest retained by the Group. Consequently, full ownership will not lead to a change in account treatment. 

Why is Nepal not consolidated, as you are the majority owner?

From 1 January 2022, the Nepalese business is deconsolidated due to actions by the local minority shareholder who owns 10% of the shares. The local shareholder is limiting our influence on the operations, in violation of our legal and contractual rights. We are contesting the actions in Nepal through the local courts and we expect that the operations and management of the Nepalese business eventually will be normalised in line with the our legal and contractual rights.

What is the accounting treatment of Russia?

The Russian business was deconsolidated in 2023, following the loss of control of the business. Consequently, investment in the Russian business was fully written down and previous years’ accumulated currency translation and hedging losses were reclassified to the income statement. The loss from the discontinued operation in 2023 amounted to DKK 47,748m. Read more about the accounting treatment of Russia in the Annual Report, pages 103-104.


Why do you not provide country-by-country tax disclosure?

The Carlsberg Group acknowledges the legitimate interest of shareholders and other stakeholders in transparency on multinational corporations’ tax policies and tax payments . In 2021, we thoroughly reviewed our Tax Policy and disclosure and assessed the feasibility of public country-by-country tax reporting. The conclusion of this assessment was that until such country-based reporting applies to the entire industry, it may result in a competitive disadvantage for Carlsberg.

The Carlsberg Group remains committed to and supports the tax transparency agenda. Consequently, the “Economic Contribution” section in the ESG Report (page 85) includes a breakdown of our tax contribution and effective corporate tax rate per region.

What are the substantial non-controlling interest in the P&L?

The non-controlling interest mainly relates to our business in China, Laos, Malaysia and the UK where we don’t have 100% control of the businesses.

What does share of profit after tax of associates relate to?

That relates to entities where we don’t have control and are mainly related to businesses in Portugal, Nepal, Myanmar and Carlsberg Byen. 

What is the current status of the Russian business?

The Russian business was deconsolidated in July 2023.

On 23 June 2023, Carlsberg announced the conditional sale of Baltika Breweries in Russia.

On 16 July 2023, the Russian government issued a presidential decree temporarily transferring the management of our Russian business – Baltika Breweries – to the Russian Federal Agency for State Property Management. According to the presidential decree, Carlsberg retains title to the shares in Baltika Breweries, but otherwise no longer has any control or influence over the management of the business.

In October 2023, we announced that we had informed Baltika Breweries of our termination of all licence agreements enabling Baltika Breweries to produce, market and sell the Carlsberg Group’s products, including international and regional brands. There was a limited run-off period until 1 April 2024, during which Baltika Breweries could use up existing stock and materials.

As a result of the he loss of control the investment was fully written down and previous years’ accumulated currency translation and hedging losses were reclassified to the income statement. The loss from the discontinued operation in 2023 amounted to DKK 47,748m. Read more about the accounting treatment of Russia in the Annual Report, pages 103-104.

We continue to take all possible actions, including legal, to protect assets and operations.