Carlsberg Beer
Reuters file photo. REUTERS

Carlsberg A/S (Copenhagen: CARLA), the fourth-largest brewing company, is following rival Heineken NV's (Amsterdam: HEIA) expansion in South Asia with its own local partnership in one of the world's fastest-growing beverage markets.

Copenhagen-based Carlsberg said Tuesday it will work with Singha Corp. in Thailand to sell the Danish company's brands, which include Tuborg and Kronenbourg. Signha Corp. accounts for around 59 percent of Thailand's market in 2011, while Carlsberg has minimal presence in the country.

Carlsberg tried to expand into Thailand with a 2000 joint venture with Chang Beverages Pte Ltd., owned by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, Thailand's third richest man, but the deal stalled.

In August, Carlsberg reported a 6.1 percent decrease in adjusted earnings to 3.47 billion kroner ($574 million), missing a Bloomberg forecast of 3.9 billion kroner, with rainy weather dampening sales in Europe. It reiterated its full-year forecast of flat revenue compared to 2011.

Morningstar Inc. wrote in an August research note that Carlsberg's European beer volume was flat or down, but "Asian operations, however, continue to be a growth driver for the company. Asian beer volume climbed 26 percent to 7.4 million hectoliters in the quarter, and revenue jumped 41 percent."

Last week, Heineken bought a full stake in Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd. (PINK: APBPF) from partner Fraser & Neave Ltd. after Charoen moved to take over the company.

Carlsberg shares were up 1.57 percent to 548.50 kroner. Heineken gained 1.53 percent to 47.85 euros at Tuesday's close.