Carlsberg’s India business grew 40% year on year in the quarter ended June but slower Covid-19 vaccination rates are a concern, the Danish brewer’s global chief executive Cees’t Hart has said. He attributed the volume growth to low base last year when the April-June quarter was marred by a nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Our business had another very volatile year with frequent changes in restrictions. In Asia, the situation is uncertain in a number of in a number of markets such as Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, India and also Malaysia due to the low level of vaccinations,” Hart told investors in an earnings call on Wednesday.
“In India, it’s a bit better,” he said. “Infection rates are in decline. And there we see the off-trade more or less open to 90-95% and 70% in on-trade.”
Volume growth in the June quarter helped the maker of Tuborg and Carlsberg beer improve its margins strongly.
Beer sales in India grew in double digits in the quarter to June compared to the year-ago figure but were still nearly half the sales in the pre-Covid corresponding period of 2019, as most bars and restaurants across the country still operate with restricted timings and at lower capacity.
On-trade channels accounted for 40% of beer sales in the country in 2019, but the fell to 11% last year