Danish brewer Carlsberg said moves by Russian beer sellers to stock up before a tax hike takes effect next year will boost its 2009 operating profit by close to $60 million above previous guidance.
The world's fourth-biggest brewer by sales raised full-year guidance to at least 9.3 billion crowns ($1.8 billion) from a previous forecast of at least 9.0 billion.
But Carlsberg, which is the leading beer producer for the Russian market, said in a statement the boost would be short-lived, as destocking is expected to wipe the same sum off profits in the first quarter of 2010.
Shares in Carlsberg fell 0.8 percent to 388.50 crowns by 1038 GMT (5:38 a.m. EST), slightly underperforming the DJ Stoxx European food and beverage sector index which was down 0.3 percent.
Carlsberg said a November decision by the Russian parliament to increase beer excise duties by 200 percent from January 1, 2010, had led to stockbuilding in the distribution system in the last months of 2009, boosting its Russian volumes.
Carlsberg's Russian fourth-quarter 2009 volumes will be higher than previously expected, the company said.
Our view of the total Russian market is unchanged, Chief Executive Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen told Reuters, cautioning that increased Russian production volumes in single months did not indicate changes to the overall outlook for that market.
He said the sales increase was entirely driven by distributors building stocks. This is purely a shift in timing of revenue, as we get sales now, but consumers won't feel it until later.
Buhl Rasmussen said Carlsberg still sees 2010 as a challenging year.
ING analyst Gerard Rijk said: In the short term they benefit from increased stocking. Relatively to the market, they benefit, but absolutely the market does not benefit.
The stock building is expected to have a negative impact on working capital of about 300 million crowns due to higher accounts receivables, Carlsberg said, but it maintained its 2009 free cash flow forecast of at least 6.5 billion crowns.
Like the inventory impact, the negative working capital effect in the fourth quarter of 2009 will be reversed in the first quarter of 2010, it said.
Carlsberg said that an effort to find developers for its Valby property in Copenhagen continues and would not be completed by year-end.
($1=5.166 Danish Crown)
(Reporting by John Acher and Peter Levring; editing by John Stonestreet and Jon Loades-Carter)