Carlsberg freezes hiring against Russia slump

Danish brewer Carlsberg said on Wednesday it had implemented a hiring and salary freeze at the start of the year to gird itself against an economic slowdown in Russia.

The freeze "has been in place since the beginning of this year," company spokesman Jim Daniell told AFP. "It's mainly due to the tough microeconomic conditions in Russia, which our Russian business is facing," he said, adding that the company was unable to say how long the measures would be in place.

Exemptions could be made for seasonal workers "but as far as pay grades or anything like that, it's across the board," he said. 

Carlsberg is Russia's leading brewer with a 39 percent market share. In November, the group said in its third quarter earnings report that while the value of the Russian beer market had grown in the first nine months, volumes had declined by six to seven percent "due to the uncertain and challenging macro environment." 

Eastern Europe accounted for 35 percent of Carlsberg's total volume and 36 percent of operating profit in 2013. Western sanctions and a coinciding slide in the price of oil exports have sent Russia into recession and seen Standard and Poor's slap a "junk" rating on Moscow's foreign currency debt.

The United States said on Wednesday it was ready to increase the sanctions over Russia's actions in war-torn Ukraine, and the EU has said it is looking at piling further pressure on the country's economy in response to an upsurge in fighting blamed on Moscow.

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Denmark decries airspace violations by Russian planes

Denmark's government on Friday decried two Russian aircraft violating Danish airspace and summoned   Moscow's ambassador over the incident.

Denmark decries airspace violations by Russian planes
Russian MiG fighter jets. NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP

The defence ministry in one NATO’s founding members said fighter jets had been scrambled to counter the incursion on Friday,  Ritzau news agency reported.

“Completely unacceptable that Russian planes violate Danish airspace, even twice in one day,” Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said in a post to Twitter.

Kofod added that the repeat violation made it look like a “deliberate action”.

“We are still examining the details, but I have already taken the initiative to summon the Russian ambassador for a talk at the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs,” the foreign minister said.

The violations had occurred over the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, south of Sweden.

“It is very rare that we see this type of violation of Danish airspace, so two in the same day must be deemed to be serious,” Defence Minister Trine Bramsen told Ritzau.

According to the agency, Russia has repeatedly flown over Danish airspace and in August 2020, a Russian B52 bomber also flew over Bornholm.