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Carlsberg to cut up to 150 jobs in Europe

* Brewer says to cut up to 150 jobs
* Says challenging and uncertain markets ahead
* Says maintains long-term ambition for profitable growth (Adds details, comments, share price)

Danish brewer Carlsberg said it was cutting up to 150 jobs to help cope with difficult and uncertain market conditions in European markets where it earns as much as half its profit.

"We are preparing for challenging market conditions in the coming years in Europe," said Chief Executive Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen in the statement.

"Although the outlook is uncertain, we maintain our long term ambition for profitable growth," Rasmussen said in the statement.

Two weeks ago, Rasmussen told Reuters the group was preparing for the worst conceivable business conditions next year and looking for ways to control costs as the euro zone crisis threatens to escalate.

Brewers' profits have been battered by the crisis in Greece and Iberia and analysts worry Italy and France might be next, while, outside the euro zone, Britain's beer market may suffer from national austerity measures aimed at cutting debt.

Rival Heineken has said the group has cut costs by over one billion euros since 2006, and that it will continue these cost cuts with the launch of its new Total Cost Management (TCM2) programme in 2012.

Carlsberg said it would cut 95 jobs in Denmark, Poland and Switzerland. The brewer said it would transfer 25 employees from Carlsberg IT to a business standardisation project and establish an integrated supply organisation for Europe, which will incorporate the group procurement, supply chain and logistics functions.

The organisation would be located in Switzerland and be in place by the end of 2012, Carlsberg said in the statement.

"2011 has generally been a challenging year for Carlsberg, not least in Russia, and when you look at the Western world, in the next two years, we believe it will be challenging for another two years," Rasmussen told TV2 News.

"Therefore, we have to make adjustments now. We cannot wait," Rasmussen said.

"By focusing and prioritising our activities, we have a solid foundation for future growth, when market conditions return to normal again," Rasmussen said in the statement.

1 Dec. 2011

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