Carlsberg grabs Heinz veteran Warmoth to cash in on Asia thirst

City A.M. Reporter
DANISH brewer Carlsberg has appointed former Heinz executive Christopher Warmoth as head of its Asia business to aim for a bigger share of the high-growth market to offset weak beer sales in recession-hit western Europe.

Asia has become the main battle ground for the world's biggest brewers, such as Carlsberg, AB InBev, SABMiller and Heineken, which are relying on growing middle classes in emerging markets to compensate for sluggish sales in Europe and the US.

“His most important role will be to grow Carlsberg in Asia and carry out potential acquisitions to generate as much growth as possible,” said Sydbank analyst Morten Imsgard.

Asia accounts for roughly 20 per cent of Carlsberg’s revenue, with sales up 10 per cent in the previous quarter, albeit lagging forecasts.

Carlsberg is hoping the 54-year old British national can replicate the type of deals he presided over in Asia during his 10 years at Heinz. Heinz acquired Foodstar in China, a maker of soy sauce, for $165.4m in 2010, and it bought the remaining 21 per cent it did not own of a China subsidiary that makes infant formula.

“He brings a wealth of valuable experience from multinational fast moving consumer goods companies,” chief executive Jorgen Rasmussen said. “He has also led extensive change and capability programs.”

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