Carlsberg to Win Back Lost Market Share in Malaysia

Danish-owned Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, which has been losing some market share to its main rival Guinness Anchor Bhd (GAB), will soon be on a stronger footing to win back lost ground following a management revamp, its new general manager for marketing Ole Nielsen said.
The restructuring had resolved the problems that affected the company previously, and only one or two of those from the previous management team that had remained in the new management, he said.
With strong support from its parent company in Denmark and good working relations with its local shareholders, Nielsen was confident that things would be positive for Carlsberg Malaysia in the coming years.
“I hope in the next few years it will be a more quiet period when it comes to management changes,” he said, adding that what the company only needed “tweaking in some places” , and what it experienced in the past was not a crisis.
Among others, Nielsen said that Carlsberg Malaysia needed to change the branding of its products, have a stronger portfolio of brands and become more efficient in production and sales.
“It is not like something is wrong with what we do today ” but once in a while, you need to revise what you have been doing all these years,” he told The Edge Financial Daily in an interview last Friday.
On the perception that GAB was more aggressive than Carlsberg Malaysia in marketing its products, Nielsen pointed out that even GAB had undergone a process of change and restructuring for several years.
“They are probably in a good shape in many places now. That is probably why, at least to an outsider, it seems that they are pushing much more than we do,” he said.
Nielsen said that Carlsberg Malaysia had already started rebuilding itself by lowering its stock level in the market so that it could offer fresher beer to consumers and claimed that it offered” the freshest beer in the market”.
“The initial platform to rebuild the company is for the basics to be right,” he added. The company would also be introducing new products to its portfolio of nine brands in the next six months, Nielsen said.
While he was tight-lipped on the number of new products to be introduced and their promotion strategies, he said that Carlsberg Malaysia had set aside “sufficient budget”  which it would be spending efficiently to promote its brands.
Nielsen admitted that GAB’s Tiger beer had been gaining market share at the expense of the Carlsberg beer, but he was also quick to point out that Carlsberg beer was still the market leader by far.
We will kick their (Tiger beer) butt in the coming years. “They are number two, so they need to work harder,” he said.
On the Malaysian beer market, he said that the pricing was only one of the many issues confronting breweries, and they also needed to adapt to the changing needs of the increasingly affluent consumers.
In view of this, Carlsberg Malaysia may even consider introducing new packaging, including the use of plastic bottles that was popular in certain countries, Nielsen said.
He said the major difference between the beer trade in Malaysia and Denmark was the fact that “off trade” or consumption of beer in outlets such as pubs, restaurants and coffee shops accounted for as much as 80% of beer sales in Malaysia.
In Denmark, “on trade” or the sales of beers by retail outlets for take-home consumption accounted for 70% while “off trade” only accounted for 30%, he added.

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