On 2 April, the Group suspended its outlook for 2020 due to the significantly increased uncertainty concerning the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on business performance. The situation remains unchanged with a high degree of volatility and uncertainty in most markets and, consequently, the 2020 guidance remains suspended. CEO Cees ’t Hart says:
“Across the world, the coronavirus continues to be an immense challenge for people, regulators, and businesses, changing lives for everyone. In these uncertain times, our first priority has been and remains the health and safety of our employees. Colleagues are working under very difficult circumstances at our breweries, in sales or from home. Even so, morale has been very encouraging and a source of great inspiration. In addition to keeping our business running and delivering to our customers, our people have found relevant ways to support their local communities – including partnerships to support production of hand sanitiser, donating alcohol-free drinks and making financial donations locally – and are developing creative solutions to support our on-trade customers in particular in their immense hardship.
“Our businesses in all markets are impacted to a greater or lesser extent. While we’re starting to see signs of recovery in our largest market, China, and initial signs of governments cautiously lifting restrictions in some Western European markets, other markets remain in lockdown. Nevertheless, social-distancing requirements will continue and will impact consumer behaviour. Consequently, volumes will decline further in Q2.
“Carlsberg remains in strong financial health. To mitigate the impact of weaker volumes, we’re reinforcing our cost focus and maintaining a strict focus on cash and liquidity, while ensuring that this will not compromise the long-term health of our brands and our organisation.”
*Definition changed as of 2020 to include Somersby alcohol-free and kvass in alcohol-free brews and Somersby in craft & speciality. Excluding these changes, growth of craft & speciality would have been +3% and for alcohol-free brews +4%.