* Q4 sales fell and missed expectations in all regions
* Russian ban on large PET bottles to hit 2017 sales
* Shares 3 pct down
(Adds details, quotes, background)
By Teis Jensen
COPENHAGEN, Feb 8 Carlsberg's sales
fell and missed expectations in each of its three regions in the
fourth quarter and the Danish brewer said stricter rules
governing how alcoholic drinks are sold in Russia will dent
earnings this year.
Sales in Eastern Europe fell 2.5 percent to 2.33 billion
Danish crowns ($334.11 million), the world's third largest
brewer said in a trading statement on Wednesday, compared with
analyst expectations for a 7 percent gain.
Carlsberg said that a law in Russia limiting the size of a
plastic beer bottle to no more than 1.5 litre as part of efforts
to curb alcohol abuse could dent beer sales in the country by 5
percent this year.
"On top of that there could be further market decline,"
Chief Executive Cees 't Hart told reporters on a conference
call, without giving details.
Russia is the main market in Carlsberg's Eastern Europe
region that provides around a fifth of the brewer's sales.
Russia has long been a problematic market for brewers due to
sales and advertising restrictions and tax hikes designed to
curb drinking, but in November Carlsberg had reported a sharp
rise in third-quarter sales, which resulted in it winning market
share from its bigger global rivals Anheuser Busch Inbev
Carlsberg has struggled in Russia since it took control of
the country's largest beer brand Baltika in 2008 due to tighter
alcohol regulations and a weak economy.
Carlsberg said it expected its overall operating profit in
percentage terms to rise by mid-single digit this year.
The company gave no quarterly earning figures but its full
year net profit came in at 4.49 billion Danish crowns ($642.91
million), slightly higher than the 4.46 billion expected by
The brewer proposed a dividend of 10 crowns per share for
2016, slightly higher than the 9.47 crowns expected by analysts.
($1 = 6.9839 Danish crowns)
(Reporting by Teis Jensen; Editing by Sunil Nair and Louise