In 2016 and 2017, the Group’s key focus was the delivery of Funding the Journey to create the financial flexibility to invest in the business. In 2018, we will strengthen the focus on revenue growth while maintaining a sharp focus on costs and delivering on the remaining Funding the Journey benefits. We will also continue to exercise strict cash flow discipline.
At regional level, we have the following priorities for 2018: continued improvement in margins and operating profit in Western Europe; accelerating organic growth in Asia through premiumisation; and rebalancing the focus towards top-line growth in Eastern Europe.
The Group has in 2018 increased its earnings expectations for the year. The first time was in August and on 24 October, the Group once again adjusted its earnings expectations for 2018 upwards to:
• 10-11% organic growth in operating profit.
The upgrade was the result of higher-than-expected third-quarter revenue and operating profit due to good progress on our strategic priorities, strong execution of Funding the Journey and a warm summer in Western Europe.
A translation impact on operating profit of around DKK -500m is assumed, based on the spot rates as at 24 October.
Other relevant assumptions are:
Financial expenses, excluding currency losses or gains and fair value adjustments, are expected to be around DKK 800m.
The effective tax rate is expected to be below 29%.
Capital expenditures at constant currencies are expected to be around DKK 4.0-4.5bn (previously around DKK 4.5bn).