Carlsberg forecasts 10% profit growth for 2019

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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish brewer Carlsberg CARLb.CO revised upwards its annual profit growth outlook on Monday, saying it now expects organic operating profit to rise by around 10% versus a previous forecast for a "high single-digit" percentage increase.

The world’s third biggest brewer cited solid earnings in its major markets Western Europe and China, which it said more than offset weakness in Russia, its second largest market.

“We are very pleased to be able to deliver a second upgrade this year due to solid earnings performance in Western Europe and China,” Carlsberg’s chief executive Cees ‘T Hart said in a statement.

In August, Carlsberg had increased its profit expectations for 2019 after strong first-half sales and an improvement in operating margins.

The latest upgrade to the group's profit guidance contrasts with profit warnings by rivals Anheuser-Busch InBev ABI.BR and Heineken HEIN.AS last week following slow sales in their main markets.

“Investment in the brand and its premiumisation drive has more traction in Carlsberg than some of its rivals,” Handelsbanken analyst Frans Hoyer told Reuters.

Carlsberg is due to publish a trading statement for its third quarter on Thursday.

Carlsberg shares jumped 3.7% immediately after the announcement, and traded up 1.7% at GMT 1119.

Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard, additional reporting by Tommy Lund; Editing by Jan Harvey and Jane Merriman