Red Bull's growth rate halved in 2008
Vienna - Austrian energy drink producer Red Bull reported Wednesday that its 2008 sales reached 3.32 billion euros (4.28 billion dollars), up 7.9 per cent, less than half the previous year's 16.6 per cent rise.
At 79 per cent, sales growth was especially strong in the Far East, with the Middle East (31 per cent) and South America (26 per cent) also boosting revenue, Austrian press agency APA reported Wednesday.
Red Bull founder and co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz said last week that the growth rate in the United States had slowed down since October, falling to single digits.
The company said it had "ambitious growth and investment plans" for 2009, despite the difficult economic climate, but Mateschitz told the regional daily Salzburger Nachrichten that he expected revenue to increase by only 3 to 5 per cent.
"People go out less and drink prosecco instead of champagne, or apple juice instead of Red Bull," Mateschitz said.
To compensate, the Salzburg-based company is planning to cut costs, with potential savings of up to 100 million dollars at its Formula 1 teams Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Red Bull did not release profit or operating income data on Wednesday.
Mateschitz holds a 49-per-cent share in the company. The rest is owned by Thai businessman Chaleo Yovidhya and his son. (dpa)