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Angkor to tap export market

Cambodian beer could be sipped across the world under Carlsberg’s expansion

CARLSBERG plans to export Angkor beer to new markets outside of Asia within the next two years, as the firm claimed strong Indochina sales as the main driver of 49 percent growth in its first quarter Asia profits.

The company’s Indochina Manager Henrik Andersen said Wednesday that the Denmark-based brewery already sells “a very small amount” of Angkor abroad, and that the brand is beginning to see potential for export to new markets, within a one- to two-year time frame.

“I think our export opportunities are in Asia and also outside – in the UK, France, US, even Japan – where Asian brands are becoming specialty beers with lots of exotic features,” he said.

Carlsberg – which owns 50 percent of Sihanoukville-based Cambrew Limited – brews Angkor beer along with Chang, Bayon, and premium beverages such as Angkor Stout and Angkor Export.

The brewery’s first quarter profits jumped by US$13.1 million, to an overall $39 million in Asia, this year. The results were “driven by a very strong organic growth of around 30 percent” in Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia, CEO Jorgen Rasmussen said at a conference releasing the results late Tuesday.

Andersen declined to release the firm’s market share and revenue in Cambodia, citing concerns about competition, but said he was optimistic about the future of the brewery in the Kingdom.

“The Cambodian beer market is still a smaller market in Asian terms, but there’s good growth potential because of lower per capita consumption than neighbouring countries,” he said.

Estimating the overall beer market in Cambodia would grow by 6 percent to 10 percent in 2010, he said statistics for the market were difficult to compile because of a large amount of unreported beer brought across the border.

Beer preferences are growing in line with the country’s developing economy, he said.

“Every market in the world as it develops becomes more sophisticated [with its brand preference]. We expect it, and it opens up opportunities.”
Of its Angkor brand, he added, “one of the strong features is that we own a very strong brand in Cambodia, that’s an asset we treasure”.

Amsterdam-based Heineken brewery also claimed strong revenues in Indochina in its first quarter results released last month.

The results claimed organic growth in Asia and the Pacific totalled 1.7 percent in the first quarter over the same period 2009, after adjustment for asset sales. Internationally the brewery saw 5.3 percent decline in its organic growth for the first three months, year on year.
Its subsidiary Cambodia Brewery Limited produces Tiger, Anchor, ABC Stout and Gold Crown for the domestic market, according to its website.

The Kingdom’s beer market is set to become increasingly crowded as Cambodia’s Chip Mong Group signed a deal in December with Germany’s Ziemann Group to establish a $60 million brewery in Cambodia.

Another Cambodian company, Kingdom Breweries Limited, announced plans to begin brewing what it terms “a boutique beer” later this year, brewery chief executive officer Peter Brongers said previously.

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