Beer Group President and Anadolu Efes CEO Can Çaka’s Comments
I am happy to report a very good start to the year despite cycling a pre-COVID period in Q1, assisted by strong performance in both beer and soft drink operations. We have been taking all necessary steps to maintain our business continuity in line with our commitment to all our stakeholders. We are also ready to drive and capitalize on consumption opportunities in our markets as the impact of the pandemic eases gradually. We continued to focus on our strong mainstream franchise while closely monitoring the different preferences of our consumers and focused on channel management to adapt to changing shopping behavior. Accordingly, we delivered better than our expectations across the board, both in terms of volume and profitability, yielding a much better than expected performance in our bottom line and cash generation.” commented Mr. Can Çaka, Beer Group President and Anadolu Efes CEO.
The uncertainties and challenges related to pandemic impact our way of doing business as well as future expectations. However, we continue executing our strategy to create value, facilitated by our unmatched portfolio of brands, prudent investments, our leading positions across our markets as well as our financial discipline and balance sheet strength.
We focus on our strategic priorities to build on our strengths to mitigate the impact of the pandemic as well as drive profitable growth in the post-COVID period. In this context, we remain committed to our digital transformation initiatives. Despite having a long term vision, our ongoing investments in our digital footprint started to positively impact our organizational capabilities in the short term. They are also recognized as better practices as evidenced by numerous awards by reputable organizations.
Relaunch of Efes Family of brands with a new brewing technique in 2020, was also another important milestone. We are now rolling out the new taste and appeal of Efes Family of brands to our consumers outside of Turkey.
In Q1 2021, we achieved growth in all our international beer operations, other than Ukraine, where our business performance was impacted by negative industry trends and competitive headwinds. Russia is the largest contributor to our beer business and I am happy to note that our business continued to grow in Q1 following three consecutive years of growth. We are encouraged by the continuing balanced volume and revenue performance in this quarter which was supported by good market execution as well as revenue growth management initiatives in order to drive value growth. In CIS countries, we had strong volume growth and margin expansion better than our plans. These are driven by our superior performance in the premium segment. On the other hand, Turkey has the highest share in on-trade. Turkish market continues to be impacted by strict measures imposed to curb growing cases of pandemic, in especially in the first two months of the year, while temporary reopening of on-trade channel in March was a positive addition to our base case scenario.
We are encouraged by our strong start to the year in Q1. However, we do not anticipate a sustained normalization period until the second half of the year. We are well prepared to overcome the challenges to reach our business goals for the year. We will continue brewing joy, passionately and responsibly, to drive value creation with superior financial results as we transition to normal in 2021.