Total sales of Estonian beverage producer A. Le Coq declined by 20% on year in the first half of 2018, from 67.1 million to 55.8 million litres.
Sales on Estonia's northern border, i.e. cross-border sales primarily to Finland, have fallen almost fourfold, while sales on the country's southern border have increased fivefold, the company said on Thursday.
The primary reason for the decline in sales during the first half of the year has been a substantial reduction in domestic sales and sales on Estonia's northern border; the latter plummeted almost fourfold from 11 million to 3.1 million litres.
A. Le Coq CEO Tarmo Noop said that the reduction in sales was offset to a large extent by the increase in exports, which grew by as much as 61%, from 8.5 million to 13.7 million litres. He noted that sales on Estonia's southern border grew by as much as five times.
Exports accounted for 25% of total sales in the first six months of 2018, setting a new record for the beverage producer. In addition to the significant increase in exports to Latvia, sales on other foreign markets also grew 50%.
"[Estonia's] excise policy has brought us a robust leap in exports driven, among other things, by the ever increasing sales of beer, cider and long drinks on the southern border, and this tendency shows no signs of subsiding yet," Noop said.
The CEO noted that the company is exploring other markets for opportunities to make up for the reduction in sales on Estonia's northern border as well as domestic sales.
"A. Le Coq's product portfolio has good export potential, and in the future we will definitely see more export markets added," he said.
A. Le Coq exports primarily beers, ciders and long drinks, and the main destination countries for its exports are Latvia, Denmark, Germany, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, South Africa, Greece, and Russia. A. Le Coq exports its output to a total of 36 countries.
In 2017, the company's sales dropped 4% on year to €73.9 million, with net profits likewise dropping 4% to €12.9 million.
Editor: Aili Vahtla