Carlsberg Drops 6% on Russian Worries

bloombergA bartender pouring a pint of Carlsberg in a London pub. The brewer lost 6 percent Tuesday on falling Russian output.
OSLO — Carlsberg, the Nordic region's largest brewer, fell the most in almost a year in Copenhagen trading after beer production declined last month in Russia, where the company's Baltika unit leads the industry.

Russian beer output fell 10 percent in August from July and was up 0.3 percent from a year earlier, according to figures published Tuesday by the State Statistics Service.

Carlsberg dropped 26.5 kroner, or 6 percent, to 414.5 kroner in Copenhagen, the steepest decline since Oct. 18.

"There is some weak Russian market data for August," Kitty Gron, an analyst at Handelsbanken in Copenhagen, said by phone. "People are nervous."

Carlsberg took control of Baltika Breweries in April as part of its $10 billion joint takeover of Scottish & Newcastle with Heineken. Baltika, which makes the Carlsberg and Tuborg brands in Russia, is the country's biggest brewer, with 37 percent of the market.

Carlsberg spokesman Jens Peter Skaarup said the company does not comment on share price movements.

The stock's drop may be related to forced sales by Lehman Brothers Holdings after the U.S. bank filed for bankruptcy Monday, said Soeren Moeller Soerensen, a trader at Amagerbanken in Copenhagen. Lehman was a joint underwriter of Carlsberg's 30.1 billion kroner ($5.72 billion) rights offering this year.

"It could be that some Lehman funds had been investing in Carlsberg during the rights issue, and some of these assets might be sold now, hurting Carlsberg's share price," Soerensen said.

Stephanie Howell and Emma Thorogood, spokeswomen at PricewaterhouseCoopers Europe, which is acting on behalf of Lehman in Britain, could not be reached for comment.