Carlsberg (CARLB) said Monday it will pay $1.5 billion for the remaining shares of Russia's Baltika Brewery (PKBA) it does not own, after losing market share in the nation last year and anticipating a flat European market in this year.
The Danish brewer, which expects the transaction to be completed by May, said overall beer sales in Russia last year fell three percent. Carlesberg's market share in Russia fell 1.8 percent to 37.4 percent in last year.
The St. Petersburg-based brewery is the largest in Eastern Europe, and Baltika's eponymous beer is the most widely sold in Russia. The beer market within the nation fell in 2011, as inflation, high prices and taxes on alcohol sales led to a shrinking market.
The Copenhagen-based company reported a 4.2 percent decline in full-year profit, to $1.74 billion last year. It expects to hit similar numbers in 2012. Its fourth-quarter net profit beat analysts' projections, reaching $163 million.
Carlsberg's 2012 guidance for the coming year was cautious, anticipating steady numbers with slight growth in net profit, bolstered by the Baltika buyout.