Carlsberg’s new CEO bought $1.6 million of its shares


Jacob Aarup-Andersen took the helm at brewing giant Carlsberg on Friday.

Within days of getting his feet under the desk, he purchased near $1.6 million worth of the company’s shares—a ploy which could send shockwaves of confidence through the market.

Aarup-Andersen bought 11,000 Carlsberg shares listed on the Copenhagen stock exchange this month, a filing seen by Fortune shows.

While it may seem unusual, Aarup-Andersen made similar purchases at his earlier company—facility management provider ISS—according to Bloomberg reports.

Shortly before leaving the company in March, Aarup-Andersen reportedly bought 35,000 shares in ISS which boosted the stock price, sending a green signal regarding the company’s strength to the market. 

A number of tech CEOs also bought shares in their own companies following last year’s a tech rout, a signal to investors to take note of confidence from company insiders.

And Aarup-Andersen’s tactic seems to have worked once again. The Danish brewer’s shares opened higher than Copenhagen’s OMX C25 benchmark index at Wednesday’s trading. 

Carlsberg didn’t immediately return Fortune’s request for comment.

Uncertainty with Carlsberg’s Russia business

Aarup-Andersen has taken on the top role at Carlsberg at a time when the company has been grappling with uncertainty over its Russia business.

It’s Russian arm—called Baltika Breweries— makes one of the best-selling beers in the country. 

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine however, the company decided to sell its business despite its extensive operations of 8,000 employees across eight breweries. But before the sale could go through, the Kremlin took control of Baltika in July. 

In a statement last month, then-CEO Cees ‘t Hart said he was “shocked” at the move, which he believes targeted companies from “unfriendly countries.”

Under extreme circumstances, Hart said he feared Baltika could even be nationalized by the Kremlin as Carlsberg had lost control of the operation.

A Carlsberg spokesperson told Fortune in August that the company’s business in and around Russia remained important, as it went back over three decades. 

“The business in Russia has been highly integrated with the rest of the company, especially in our Central and Eastern European region and we have been working to untangle this over the past year as part of the sales process,” the spokesperson said.

For its part, Carlsberg has continued to post robust earnings through the first half of 2023 despite volatility with its Russia entity. The group saw 11.2% revenue growth and 5.2% jump in operating profit for the January to June period, compared to the same time last year. 

It also raised its profit forecast for the year to 7% from a lower estimate earlier.

Aarup-Andersen’s mandate

Aarup-Andersen spent three years as ISS’s CEO before taking over from Hart at Carlsberg.

He presided over the company’s financial turnaround and helped it grow during the COVID-19 pandemic. Aarup-Andersen also specialized in investments in his earlier roles. 

At Carlsberg, his job will be to find new room for growth for the brewer as it looks beyond its lucrative Russia business. 

“I’m very impressed with the successful journey that Carlsberg has been on these past years,” Aarup-Andersen said in a statement announcing his appointment earlier this year. “I’m looking forward to working with the team over the coming years to further accelerate the full growth and value creation of this unique company.”

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