Royal Unibrew’s overall strategy is to continue being a regional beverage provider, and ceaseless efforts are directed at reinforcing this position. The results of the strategy have led to continuous improvement of our earnings capacity, and our medium-term EBIT margin target is increased to about 17%. The capital structure and dividend targets are maintained. 

Overall strategy 

It is Royal Unibrew’s strategy to be a focused, strong regional beverage provider within beer, malt beverages and soft drinks, including soda water, mineral water and fruit juices as well as cider and long drinks (RTD). Our objective is, with as well own brands as strong international licence brands, to achieve leading positions in the markets or the segments in which we operate.

Based on the satisfactory results for 2017 and our outlook for the future development, we increase our medium-term EBIT margin target to about 17% compared to the previous target of about 16%. The target increase should be viewed in light of, among other things, our expectation of generating synergies in connection with the acquisition of Terme di Crodo in 2017. The EBIT margin target of about 17% is considered ambitious when comparing to the margins of international and regional beverage providers in Europe.

Over the coming years, we will scale up our sales and marketing efforts with a view to reinforcing our market positions in the individual markets and increasing the total business volume of the Group – thus ensuring the long-term value of our many brands.

Our strategy has been determined taking into account that Royal Unibrew operates in markets that are characterised by different dynamics.

Insight and strong competences are required to reach our ambitious strategic targets and to navigate in markets characterised by rapid change. We therefore give high priority to retaining experienced employees and recruiting new employees who bring new momentum and knowledge, and to strengthening core competences through development and training.



Main elements of the overall strategy 

Key market positions
Focus on markets and segments in which Royal Unibrew holds or may achieve a considerable position

Royal Unibrew focuses on further developing established market and segment positions where the Company holds either a leading position, such as in Denmark, Finland and the Baltic countries, or considerable and leading niche positions, such as in Italy and in the international malt beverage markets to which beer is also exported. As regards mainstream market positions in consolidated markets, it must be possible to achieve a role as a leading player to create attractive profitability.
Royal Unibrew’s natural market area is characterised by considerable industry concentration.

To the extent that structural growth opportunities arise, including, for example, through acquisitions or by entering into partnerships, which might reinforce existing market positions or create new market positions, these will be assessed if there is a strategic match and long-term shareholder value can be created.

Efforts will be made to reinforce mainstream market positions through focus on a broader beverage portfolio in order for Royal Unibrew’s customers to benefit further from the partnership.

Innovation, development and local roots
Focus on innovation and development of Royal Unibrew’s products and local brand positions

Royal Unibrew’s strong position as a regional brewer builds on strong local market positions established on the basis of well-known local brand portfolios subject to continuous further development. The product portfolio development includes the Group’s own development of new taste varieties, products and brands within existing and new beverage categories as well as the conclusion of new licence agreements both as a licensee and a licensor. A Growth Leadership Team facilitates development and implementing the Royal Unibrew best practice across the entire Group.

Operational efficiency
Focus on operational efficiency

Royal Unibrew will continue its focus on pursuing all opportunities of continuously enhancing the efficiency of all links in the Company’s value chain.

Financial flexibility
Maintaining Royal Unibrew’s financial flexibility, competitive power and scope for strategic manoeuvrability through an appropriate capital structure

Royal Unibrew is continuously considering its capital structure with a view to adjusting it so as to support the realisation of the strategic and financial targets in the best possible way.

Market outlook

Despite Royal Unibrew primarily operating in Europe, our individual markets are characterised by many different development trends. Our strategy has been determined based on market-by-market considerations. Royal Unibrew’s outlook for developments in the individual markets is as follows:

Western Europe 
Revenue  EBIT margin
2,829 mDKK  19.9 %


The Danish consumer market is in total expected to be stagnant within Royal Unibrew’s beverage categories in the coming years. Within the beer category is expected a structural decline resulting from consumers increasing their consumption of other alcoholic beverages, whereas categories such as low-calorie beverages are expected to show increases. In the beer category, the current positive trend in the consumption of Craft and specialty beer are expected to continue and enhance the opportunities of added value in the beer market. Within the classic soft drinks and mineral water categories, new product sub-categories are still expected to be developed driven by, among other things, health trends and the need for functional beverages, which is expected to curb the decline in the total beverage market. Consumer demand for innovative products and a broader product range will continue to affect complexity in the individual markets, and thus make considerable demands on Royal Unibrew in terms of adaptability.

The Italian beer market is characterised by a low per capita consumption compared to other “wine countries”, and beer consumption is expected to show only slight structural increases in the coming years. The economic challenges faced by Italy, including the continuously high unemployment rate and low consumer confidence, are expected to reduce growth opportunities within the super-premium segment due to, among other things, consumption pattern changes which imply a shift of sales from on-trade to off-trade, whereas consumption in the Craft and specialty beer segment is expected to increase, thus adding value to the category as a whole, but from a very low starting point. The Italian soft drinks market is expected to decline slightly in the coming years, but within the category, growth is expected in the consumption of premium/super-premium products in a market dominated by mainstream products.


Baltic sea
Revenue  EBIT margin
3,076 mDKK 14.0 %


In Finland, the total beverage market in which Hartwall operates is, despite beginning positive signs on macroeconomic improvement, expected to stagnate structurally in the coming years, due to, among other things, the high excise duties level and unemployment. If the unemployment rate declines, demand in the mainstream category is expected to increase, and demand within discount/private label is expected to decline. Excise duties changes at 1 January and 1 March 2018 will change the distribution of a number of products which could previously only be sold by the Alko monopoly; this will imply different market dynamics. The development is not expected to change total consumption but will probably change category composition. Innovation will continue to be an important element in developing the overall beverage market, eg through the development of new categories.

Structurally, the total beverage market in the Baltic countries is expected to be considerably negatively affected by legislative changes as well as demographic developments. Legislative changes are primarily related to the beer segment where large excise duties changes and increased restrictions have resulted in – and are expected to continue to result in – significant consumer price increases – and these circumstances are not likely to change. The market for non-alcoholic beverages is expected eventually to have growth potential; the potential will, however, be closely linked to the macroeconomic conditions, including spending power development, unemployment and emigration.


Malt beverages and exports
Revenue  EBIT margin
479 mio. DK 22.2 %


The market for dark malt beverages is geographically fragmented, and consumer preference for these is rooted in tradition. The markets for dark malt beverages in established economies such as Europe, the USA and the Caribbean are expected to be structurally stable in the coming years. Demand for beer and dark malt beverages is expected to show a slight structural increase in a number of developing countries. The slight growth should be viewed in light of the macroeconomic challenges facing many countries in Africa and the Americas, whose development is to a large extent affected by the development in raw materials prices (oil, gas, metals), the level of foreign investments and thus the availability of “hard” currencies.