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Carlsberg's 2012 earnings up 6 percent

COPENHAGEN (AP) -- Carlsberg says that net profit in 2012 grew 6 percent year-on-year to 5.5 billion kroner ($980 million), or slightly more than forecasted.

The Denmark-based brewing group says annual sales increased 3 percent to 67.2 billion kroner ($12 billion) despite a sluggish beer market in Western Europe, which accounts for 42 percent of the group's sales by volume.

Carlsberg said in a statement Monday that in the fourth quarter the group managed to gain lost momentum in the key Russian market, where by the end of 2012 it accounted for 38.3 percent of the country's total beer sales.

The company says its aggressive expansion drive in Asia last year was successful, with sales in the region jumping 9 percent and revenue growth reaching 19 percent.