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FAQ

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?

The Group launched its SAIL’22 strategy in March 2016. As the name suggests, it is coming to an end in 2022.

In February 2022, the Group announced its next strategy, SAIL’27. An evolution of SAIL’22, SAIL’27 is built around the Group’s purpose of brewing for a better today and tomorrow, and our ambition of being the most successful, professional and attractive brewer in our markets.

SAIL’27 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. The strategic levers and choices should be viewed as an integrated set of activities that together will drive shareholder value.

Read more about SAIL’27 here.

What are your long-term financial ambitions?

By executing SAIL’27, we believe we can successfully capture long-term growth opportunities. Our ambitions for the SAIL’27 period are:

  • Organic revenue growth of 3-5% CAGR
  • Organic operating profit growth above revenue growth
  • Continued ROIC focus
  • Ambitious sustainability targets.

Read more about SAIL’27 here.

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
  • 7 in Asia
  • 7 in Central & Eastern Europe

How big is Carlsberg's exposure to emerging markets?

Approx. 60% of total volumes are sold in emerging markets (excluding Russia), 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. 27% 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 is approximately 20% of total volumes.

What is core beer?

Core beer comprise our strong local mainstream brands.

What are other beverages?

Other beverages (approximately 15% 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 2021, on-trade accounted for around 22% of Group volumes, while in 2019 (pre-pandemic) the share was around 25%.

ESG

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 (2021): Cans 33%, refillable glass bottles 26%, non-refillable glass bottles 14%, PET 21%, kegs 5%, bulk 1% and other 1%. Read more in our sustainability report here.

What is thermal energy break-down?

Thermal energy break-down (2021) is natural gas 77.6%, coal 0.6%, district heating 3.2%, district heating from renewable energy 3.0%, heavy fuel 2.6%, renewable energy 9.9% and light fuel 3.1%. Read more in our sustainability report here.

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

DE&I is important for Carlsberg. The long-term ambition is to reach minimum 40% share of females in senior leadership roles (April 2022: 27%).

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 36%. Excluding the employee representatives, the gender balance is 33%.

M&A

What is your M&A strategy?

Our SAIL’27 strategy 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?

2021

  • Acquisition of Wernesgrüner Brewery in Germany.

2020

  • 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.

2019

  • 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 2021, the annual bonus comprised two elements. The first element, accounting for 80% of the bonus, was based on four financial measures: organic revenue growth, organic operating profit, addressable cash flow and a Funding the Journey savings target. The second element, accounting for 20%, was linked to our ESG programme based on targets around carbon emissions and water usage, development of AFB volumes, and diversity and inclusion.

The KPIs in the long-term incentive plan for 2021-2023 included relative total shareholder return (TSR), growth in adjusted EPS at constant currencies, organic revenue growth and ROIC at constant currencies. 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 currently has three representatives in the Supervisory Board. From the AGM in 2023, the representation will be reduced to two members. 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. 40% of raw materials costs. Looking at malt specifically, c. 50% is barley and c. 50% 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 50% are the aluminium costs and 50% are conversion cost.

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 the Annual Report, page 60.

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 no longer consolidated, as you are still a 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?

As of 1 January 2022, the Russian business is, for reporting purposes, no longer included in the Central & Eastern Europe region.

In the Group’s income statement, the net result from the Russian business is presented separately as “Net result from Russian operations held for sale” below profit after tax. 2021 numbers have been restated accordingly.

Tax

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,  we have expanded the “Economic Contribution” section in the Sustainability Report to include 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 and joint ventures relate to?

That relates to entities where we don’t have control and are mainly relatred to businesses in Portugal, Nepal, Myanmar and Carlsberg Byen. Read more in the Annual Report, page 103.

What actions have you taken in Russia after its invasion of Ukraine?

On 9 March, we announced that we would stop producing and selling our flagship brand, Carlsberg, in the Russian market and that Baltika Breweries would be run as a separate business with the purpose of sustaining our employees and their families.

On 28 March, we announced our intention to seek a full disposal of our business in Russia. 

We will ensure an orderly divestiture process. Until completion of the transaction, we will continue operations to sustain the livelihood of the 8,400 Russian employees and their families.

How is the disposal process going?

Preparations for the divestment are progressing well. This is a complicated task, as the business has been an integrated part of the Carlsberg Group for many years. Consequently, more than 150 separation work streams, involving teams from many markets and cross-functional teams at region and Group level, are being executed as part of the divestment of the business.

We will ensure an orderly divestiture process; and it is expected that the divestment will be finalised during the second half of 2023.

What brands are you selling in Russia?

On 9 March, we announced that we would stop producing and selling our flagship brand, Carlsberg, in Russia. Alongside Russian brands such as Baltika, Yarpivo and Zhigulevskoe, we continue to produce and sell international brands, such as Somersby and Tuborg.

How is Russia accounted for in the financial accounts?

As of 1 January 2022 and until completion of the divestment, the Russian business will not be part of the Central & Eastern Europe region. In the Group’s income statement, the net result from the Russian business is presented separately as “net result from Russian operations held for sale” below profit after tax. Comparative 2021 figures have been restated accordingly.

The net assets related to the business in Russia are being reassessed at fair value. The reassessment is not based on external offers for the business but on a range of internal assumptions, including but not limited to assumptions regarding the extent of sanctions, developments in the Russian beer market, continued business operations in Russia, the competitive environment and macroeconomic development, including inflation and interest rates. All assumptions are based on current expectations and subject to a very high degree of volatility and uncertainty. Consequently, the fair value of the net assets related to the business in Russia is highly sensitive to changes in the assumptions and will therefore be reassessed frequently, with further adjustments expected, until the final fair value can be determined based on the actual transaction. The write-down of the net assets related to the business in Russia will be included in the “net result from Russian operations held for sale”.

In the statement of financial position, the Russian assets and liabilities will be presented in the lines “assets in disposal group held for sale” and “liabilities in disposal group held for sale” respectively.

Upon completion of the divestment, the accumulated currency translation reserve within equity related to the Russian business will be reclassified from equity to the income statement and included in the net result from the Russian business. After reclassification of the currency translation reserve, the amount will be recognised in retained earnings. Consequently, there will be no change to total equity. The reclassification will have no effect on the Group’s cash position.

What are write-downs related to the Russian business, and what is the current book value?

The net assets of the Russian business are measured at fair value less costs to sell, resulting in a write-down of approximately DKK 9.6bn at the time of the reclassification to held for sale.

The fair value was not based on external offers for the business but on estimations of the net present value of expected future cash flows in local currency. Mainly unobservable inputs (IFRS 13: Level 3) were applied, including a range of internal assumptions, such as the extent of sanctions, developments in the Russian beer market, continuing business operations in Russia, the competitive environment, and also macroeconomic assumptions, including inflation and interest rates. In the estimation of the fair value, a pre-tax discount rate of 19%, long-term growth rate of 4% and compounded growth in free cash flow of 8% were applied. All assumptions were based on current expectations in local currency and subject to a very high degree of volatility and uncertainty. Consequently, the fair value of the net assets related to the business in Russia is highly sensitive to changes in the assumptions and will be remeasured to fair value at every subsequent period-end, with any gain or loss included in the net result from Russian operations held for sale.

The fair value of the disposal group held for sale was reassessed at 30 June 2022. The net asset value in local currency remained largely unchanged compared with the initial valuation of 31 March, so there were no any additional charges to the income statement. The net asset value in DKK increased during Q2 to DKK 9.6bn because of the appreciation of the Russian rouble (DKK/RUB 0.13813 at 30 June compared to 0.07938 at 31 March) and the development in the operating result.

How is Russia performing?

Until the disposal of the Russian business is finalised, the results from the Russian business will be included in the Group's quarterly announcement (financial statements and trading statement). These can be found here.