Lack of thirst for soft drinks in Europe hits Coca-Cola bottler

COCA-COLA HBC, the largest bottler of Coca-Cola in Europe, yesterday said quarterly sales fell five per cent to €1.9bn (£1.58bn) in line with a tough market for soft drinks on the continent.

The firm, which recently moved its primary stock market listing to London, said volumes were down by three per cent.

Net profit before restructuring costs fell by five per cent to €148m.

Chief executive Dimitris Lois blamed the volume decline on the “ongoing difficult macroeconomic environment in Europe. Our emerging markets were characterised by varying levels of performance and more difficult comparables, concealing the underlying growth in some of our countries.

“We anticipate that trading conditions will remain difficult for the rest of 2013,” he added.

Shares in the firm closed up 2.5 per cent at 1,800p.