Norway's Arcus Q3 alcohol sales jump as virus-led travel curbs boost demand

OSLO, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Norwegian alcohol maker Arcus ASA posted a 26% rise in third-quarter revenue on Friday, as COVID-19-induced travel curbs prevented consumers from buying cheaper wine and liquor abroad and boosted demand.

The July-September revenue for Arcus, which has agreed to merge with Finland’s Altia, rose to 817.6 million crowns ($88.5 million) from 650.8 million crowns a year ago, it said in a statement.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 58% to 152.4 million crowns.

Seeking to limit the spread of coronavirus, Norway has discouraged foreign travel, thus limiting the access to alcohol from duty-free stores and other low-cost sources.

In September, Finnish alcoholic drinks maker and distributor Altia agreed to buy Arcus in an all-share deal, with the combined group to be renamed Anora.

Subject to regulatory approvals of the deal, Norwegian billionaire Stein Erik Hagen’s Canica investment company is set to become the biggest shareholder with a stake of 22.4%, while the Finnish government will hold 19.4% of the combined firm.

“Completion of the merger is expected to take place in the first half of 2021,” Arcus said in its earnings report. ($1 = 9.2341 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Rashmi Aich)