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Carlsberg expects that the outbreak of coronavirus in China, which led to closed streets and karaoke bars, could impact its beer sales in China for a short term period.

Reuters reported that the Danish firm has not yet changed its strategy or forecasts due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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Although the revenues in the Chinese market grew by 19%, the closure of karaoke bars and restaurants, considered as the on-trade businesses, has reportedly affected the beer sales in the country.

Carlsberg chief executive Cees ‘t Hart during a media conference call was quoted by Reuters as saying: “Short term we might have a bit of an issue or at least an impact on the business, but longer-term we don’t see any issue.

“We will not change our outlook on China, nor our current programme.”

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Since 2017, the Danish firm has expanded its presence across 35 markets in China and, by the end of the year, the company is planning to reach more markets.

The death toll from coronavirus has reached 492, of which 490 are in mainland China, as of 4 February. The number of coronavirus infected cases has surged to nearly 24,527 worldwide. In mainland China, the confirmed cases stand at 24,324, with 3,887 new cases reported.

The company also released its full-year results and said that it had a strong 2019 performance. Furthermore, its organic sales increased by 3.2% to DKK65.9bn ($9.76bn).

Hart said: “We’re pleased with our results in 2019. We saw healthy top-line growth, strong margin improvement and strong cash flow. In recent years, we’ve strengthened our business considerably, and we’ll continue to execute on our SAIL’22 priorities and further reinforce our Funding the Journey culture to support long-term growth and value creation for shareholders.

“The 2019 results allow us to once again make a significant cash return to our shareholders, as shown by the Supervisory Board’s decision to recommend a dividend increase of 17% to DKK 21 and to initiate a DKK 5.0bn share buy-back programme.”