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Aug 17, 4:38 AM EDT

Carlsberg sales hit by decline in eastern Europe

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) -- Danish brewer Carlsberg says its sales fell globally in the first half of the year due to a drop in demand, especially in eastern Europe, and currency fluctuations.

Sales were down 4 percent at 31.2 billion kroner. Net profit jumped 25 percent to 1.86 billion kroner ($281 million) from 1.48 billion kroner a year earlier, helped by one-off items like the return of a tax expense. The company said Wednesday that when comparing like for like, profit was 1.4 billion kroner.

CEO Cees 't Hart said the company was on track with a cost-cutting program: "With the satisfactory execution of our plans so far, we maintain our full-year outlook for organic growth in operating profit."

Carslberg shares were down 4 percent at 650 kroner in early trading in Copenhagen.

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